Arranged marriages are common in many parts of the world – but did you know that they are rife in Dublin 8 - in Dublin Zoo to be precise? Keepers there are in constant contact with Zoos all around Europe and often play 'matchmakers', assessing and transporting in suitable mates for some of their animals.
The system is known as the 'Studbook' – and it is the 'Bible' of sorts for Zoos. Mooney reporter Katriona McFadden went to Dublin Zoo yesterday afternoon to see the Studbook, and to have a look around the Zoo in the company of Zoo Director Leo Oosterweghel. Katriona and Leo went to see the Asian lions, Sumatran tigers & Asian elephants (four of whom, Asha, Bernhardine, Yasmin and Anak, are currently pregnant by the one bull Upali)...
Asha, Bernhardine, Yasmin and Anak
Dublin Zoo is delighted to confirm that early indications suggest that the four female Asian elephants at Dublin Zoo are pregnant. They believe that Bernhardine, the matriarch, is the furthest along in her pregnancy and will be the first to give birth.
Asha, Upali and Bernhardine
However, it is still very early days. The average gestation period for an Asian elephant is 22 months. Hormonal samples have been sent for analysis. Once the results have been confirmed Dublin Zoo is hoping to announce the pregnancies along with further details and timings.
In the meantime, the animal care team at Dublin Zoo will be keeping a very close eye on the herd.
Upali and Anak
Facts about Dublin Zoo’s heard of Asian elephants:
Upali: Born 14 November 1994, Zurich Zoo. Upali is the only male elephant in the Dublin Zoo herd.
Yasmin: Born 25 November 1990, Rotterdam Zoo. Sister of Bernhardine
Bernhardine: Born 16 June 1984, Rotterdam Zoo. Oldest female in the herd.
Asha: Born 7 May 2007. Asha is the daughter of Bernhardine and the first elephant to be born in Dublin Zoo.
Anak: Born 26 July 2003, Rotterdam Zoo. Anak is the daughter of Yasmin.
Asha, Bernhardine, Yasmin and Anak
Visitors can see Upali, Bernhardine, Yasmin, Anak and Asha at the Kaziranga Forest Trail daily. You can also keep an eye on the herd on the elephant webcam by visiting the website www.dublinzoo.ie. The keeper talk 'Elephant Encounters' happens throughout the weekend at 12.30pm, so this is a good time to visit the Kaziranga Forest Trail to learn more about Upali and the female Asian elephants.
Dublin Zoo Elephants
Dublin Zoo has published a brand new illustrated children’s book entitled Dublin Zoo Elephants. Written by Catherine de Courcy and illustrated by Cathy Callan, Dublin Zoo Elephants introduces readers to the magnificent herd of elephants at Dublin Zoo.
In this beautifully illustrated book, children will learn about the elephants, how they live and how they communicate. Children can learn about the keepers' work behind the scenes and the different personalities of the elephants.
Dublin Zoo Elephants is available in Dublin Zoo and online at www.dublinzoo.ie. The price is €7.95, and all proceeds will go towards the care of the animals at Dublin Zoo. Dublin Zoo Elephants was designed by Vermillion and published by Associated Editions.
And Dublin Zoo have very kindly gave us five copies of Dublin Zoo Elephants to give away to listeners! We asked you to text us with your name, and the first five entries we received would each win a copy. So congratulations to Darach Johnson from Co. Westmeath, Erma Kiely from Co. Clare, Gay O’Brien from Co. Kildare, Vera Ryan from Cork City and Janet Coyne from Dublin!