Posted: Fri 21st Jun 2024

Chester Zoo bids farewell to beloved elephant Aung Bo as he heads to Dublin Zoo

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Chester Zoo is preparing to bid farewell to one of its most beloved residents, Aung Bo, a 22-year-old male Asian elephant.

After arriving from a zoo in Seville, Spain in 2012, Aung Bo has spent 12 years at Chester, where his calm demeanor and friendly nature have endeared him to both the other elephants and the zoo’s keepers.

As part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), Aung Bo will be moving to Dublin Zoo.

The move is essential for maintaining a broad genetic diversity among Asian elephants in conservation zoos across Europe.

Dublin Zoo has been identified as an ideal new home for Aung Bo through careful scientific matchmaking and genetic analysis.

Richard Fraser, Chester Zoo’s Team Manager of elephants, explained the decision: “Although we’ll very much miss Aung Bo, it’s natural for males to drift in and out of family herds.”

“So, when Aung Bo moves in with his new herd at Dublin Zoo, it will be replicating elephant behavior in the wild. And who knows, maybe another male will drift into the herd here at Chester in the future.”

In preparation for his move, Dublin Zoo’s team has spent time at Chester Zoo to get to know Aung Bo, including his preferences and unique personality traits.

One of Chester Zoo’s elephant care experts, who has built a close relationship with Aung Bo, will accompany him to Dublin to ensure a smooth transition and provide a familiar presence.

The meticulous planning for Aung Bo’s journey has been underway for almost a year.

This includes helping him acclimate to a specially designed crate to ensure his safety and comfort during the trip.

Aung Bo leaves behind a legacy at Chester Zoo, including three calves: Riva, 4, Anjan, 7, and Indali, 8. Indali’s story is particularly remarkable, as she survived the deadly EEHV virus thanks to a groundbreaking treatment involving Aung Bo’s blood plasma.

This treatment marked a significant milestone in the fight against EEHV and underscored the importance of ongoing research efforts to develop a vaccine.

Chester Zoo remains at the forefront of global scientific efforts to combat EEHV, with research and vaccine trials ongoing.

The zoo’s team is hopeful that these efforts will eventually lead to a viable treatment, eliminating EEHV as a major threat to Asian elephants.

“We know that Aung Bo will be extremely well cared for by the team at Dublin Zoo and we look forward to hearing about his progress over the coming weeks, months and years as we collectively work to safeguard the Asian elephant from extinction.” Richard said.


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