How animals digest the long journey is always a question. But in the case of female Asian elephants Trong Nhi and Nhi Linh, everything seems to have gone well. The mother and daughter moved from Diergaard Blijdorp in Rotterdam to Washington, USA last month and are now out of quarantine.
The long trip to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) this week seems to have gone well. “I got the impression that the elephants made the trip very relaxed, but it’s definitely always a guess as a person,” says Jeroen Kappelhoff, a researcher who accompanied the elephants during the crossing. “They can touch each other with their trunks during the journey. Of course they had enough water and food. Besides the researcher, a veterinarian and two animal keepers accompanied the flight.
Trong Nhi (19) and Nhi Linh (9) flew from Liege, Belgium on a cargo flight to New York’s JF Kennedy Airport in early November and then on to Washington. That’s a move Required preparation. Because of their weight – the couple weigh 3500kg and 2600kg respectively – it was quite a chore to load them into a truck.
Kappelhoff says the animals are now out of their mandatory quarantine, but have yet to meet their counterparts at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. They are now allowed to explore many of the zoo’s enclosures.
Mother and daughter are welcomed on the other side of the ocean. Fertile elephants will help to further increase the number of Asian elephants in the Americas and introduce more genetic diversity, increasing the species’ chances of long-term survival.
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