GERMANY – A heartwarming photo caught the moment an elephant touched trucks with her daughter and granddaughter after being reunited at a zoo in Germany.
Pori, a 39-year-old elephant, was moved from her home at a zoo in Berlin to Bergzoo in Halle, central Germany, where she was reunited with her daughter Tana, 19, after spending 12 years apart.
Pori also met her granddaughters four-year-old Tamika and Elani, one.
In the wild, bull elephants tend to leave the herd to form new relationships, while female elephants usually remain with their mums – so this reunion is part of a programme to slowly recreate this natural process in herds that are held in captivity.
The zoo said the elephant house will remain closed for the time being while the animals get a chance to relax and become reacquainted, but visitors can still see the elephants when they are in the outdoor area.
For the time being, Pori is being housed in a separate enclosure from her daughter and granddaughters, but over the next few days they will spend time together in the outdoor area to get used to one another.
African elephant Pori was born wild in Zimbabwe in 1981 and brought to the Magdeburg Zoo in Germany in 1983, before she was sent to the Tierpark Berlin in 1997 for breeding purposes.
She gave birth to Tana, her first calf, in 2001, with the pair set to be reunited properly over the coming weeks.
In the wild, elephants live in family groups, each headed up by one family member.
Females usually stay with their mums for life, while young bulls leave the herd once they are sexually matured.
The zoo director, Dr Dennis Muller, said: “Pori’s arrival in Halle is an important step in modern elephant husbandry.
“In the future, all elephant herds in European zoos should be cared for in such natural family structures. Today we have come a great deal closer to this goal.”
The elephant population in zoos in monitored as part of a conservation breeding programme, within which teams of experts from different zoos determine new herd compositions and the animal moves required.
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