It’s often said that spring marks the start of new life and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s new male elephant appears to have taken the adage to heart.
12-year-old Asian bull elephant, Ming Jung, was recently introduced to the females in the herd for the first time since arriving at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in 2019, and as photos taken by keepers demonstrate; the mammoth matchmaking appears to have been a success.
Moving to Whipsnade from Antwerp, as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), where a studbook holder coordinates the breeding programme for an entire species to ensure a healthy and genetically diverse population is protected in zoos. Classified as Endangered and with numbers in decline a birth would be a celebration for the whole species - Ming Jung has clearly taken his role very seriously.
ZSL Animal Operations Manager, Matthew Webb said; “We’re absolutely delighted that the introductions between Ming Jung and our girls has been so positive – we just didn’t realise how well they would go!
“Animal introductions are something we carefully manage to ensure they are all content and ready – the elephants ‘meet’ over fences first and we observe their behaviour. The girls seemed really receptive to Ming Jung, and he is quite obviously smitten with them!”
Matthew continued; “Ming Jung is a genetically important animal for the future of the species – he represents a new lineage. We work really closely with the elephants and know their personality traits and quirks – so we’ll watch those for any signs, and in six weeks a scan should tell us if we can expect a new arrival in 22 months!”
While closed to the public, the UK’s largest Zoo, run by international conservation charity ZSL, is appealing to supporters and animal lovers to help care for the thousands of animals who call the Zoo home while it is closed to the public. Donate now by visiting zsl.org/support-our-zoos