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Delhi zoo shortlists South Africa to bring mate for lone African elephant

New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) Shankar, the 26-year-old African elephant from Zimbabwe at Delhi zoo, is likely to get a female companion from South Africa, officials said. Zoo Director Dharam Deo Rai said they had shortlisted South Africa as it has a good population of African elephants and could provide a suitable match for Shankar.

“It is not possible to relocate the elephant into the wild. Normally, we conduct a rewilding programme for animals born in zoos wherein the next generations of the animal are trained to hunt and their interaction with humans is minimised. It takes generations,” he said.

“One cannot expect an animal hand fed for 24 years to adapt to the jungle.” Rai said the zoo authorities had been in touch with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), which facilitates animal exchange programmes.

“All major zoos and aquariums are its members. We are hopeful we may be able to get a mate for Shankar,” he said.

WAZA had sent to Delhi zoo a list of countries having surplus animals. The zoo authorities have to shortlist considering the compatibility factor.

Zimbabwe gifted Shankar to India in 1998, when he was 26 months old.

Shankar has been alone since the death of his partner, Bombai, in 2005, officials said. He is one of the two African elephants in Indian zoos, the second being another male at Mysuru Zoo.

Nikita Dhawan, founder of Youth For Animals, had filed a petition in Delhi High Court seeking the release and rehabilitation of the animal in a suitable wildlife sanctuary.

She had claimed that the elephant was a victim of cruelty and viciousness at the hands of the zoo caretaker and that “his condition is nothing less than illegal imprisonment”.

In July, the high court asked the Central Zoo Authority to explore the possibility of bringing a female African elephant to give company to Shankar. PTI GVS SZM

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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