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Granby Zoo welcomes newest African elephant, Thandi

A new elephant has arrived at Granby Zoo.
A new elephant has arrived at Granby Zoo. Granby Zoo

A new African elephant has arrived at Granby Zoo, about an hour away from Montreal.

Thandi, a 28-year-old female, has been brought in to breed with Tutume, a 20-year-old male, with zoo officials noting her “excellent genetic background.”

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Having arrived by land transport from the Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center this week, Thandi will be joining Sarah, a 36-year-old female.

“Granby Zoo is very proud to have been selected among other institutions to welcome this elephant, and has worked in close collaboration with the team of the Pittsburgh Zoo for several months to prepare for the arrival of Thandi,” the zoo wrote in a press release.

The elephant was brought in as zookeepers believe it could be dangerous for Sarah, who has never bred, to become pregnant at her age.

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“Our present efforts have therefore been focused towards finding a proper breeding age companion for Tutume,” the statement said.

“According to one of our animal care technicians who visited the Pittsburgh Zoo last week, Thandi is calm, curious and [was] very cooperative during the daily biomedical training.”

She’ll be staying in a separate area and will remain under observation by the zoo’s animal care personnel, in collaboration with the two staff members of the Pittsburgh Zoo that accompanied her to Quebec.

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Since 2015, Granby Zoo, a non-profit organization founded in 1953, has been working with Campo Ma’an National Park in Southern Cameroon to protect elephants to solve conflicts between the large animals and the people who live in the area.

“Many villages suffer from damages done to their crops and fruit tree plantations caused by the elephants. The communities themselves are at risk when these elephants walk through their villages,” Granby Zoo says.

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The zoo states that poaching continues to be a problem.

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“We estimate that today, there are still more African elephants being poached than there are births, which means that populations will, of course, diminish in a not-so-distant future,” it writes.

“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) assesses that there are still between 420,000 and 650,000 African elephants in the wild. They were close to 20 million at the beginning of the 20th Century.”

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Zoo officials say they are hopeful that if everything goes well, visitors will be able to meet Thandi within the next few weeks.

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In the meantime, anyone who wants to visit Sarah, who has been at Granby Zoo since 1988, and Tutume, who moved to Quebec from Germany’s Berlin Zoo in 2013, can visit their outdoor habitat in the African continent sector of the zoo every weekend until Nov. 3.