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Luk Chai the Elephant Makes a Move to Melbourne Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 4, 2020 10:30 pm

luk chai elephant moves to melbourne

Luk Chai the Asian elephant settles in at Melbourne Zoo

Photo Credit: Zoos Victoria

Melbourne Zoo welcomed a jumbo new arrival on November 3rd 2020. Luk Chai, the Asian elephant made the move from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales as part of the regional conservation program for Asian elephants.

Eleven year old Luk Chai was the first Asian elephant to be born in Australia. He was born in 2009 to mother Thong Dee at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.

Luk Chai made his journey to Melbourne by road and he is now settling in before he will meet the rest of the herd. Six elephants called Melbourne home before the arrival of Luk Chai. These are young male, Man Jai and females – Mek Kapah, Dokkoon, Num-Oi, Kulab and Mali.

luk chai elephant moves to melbourne

Luk Chai the Asian elephant settles in at Melbourne Zoo

Photo Credit: Zoos Victoria

He will be introduced to the herd in the near future where he will act as a potential mate for the females and a mentor for Man Jai.

Melbourne Zoo Trail of the Elephants Life Sciences Manager Erin Gardiner said keepers are thrilled to have Luk Chai join the herd.

"We are so excited that Luk Chai is here,” Ms Gardiner said. “We have worked really hard to make sure that he is going to settle in, including having the Taronga Western Plains Zoo keepers with him for a week to help us learn about him and for him to learn about us.

"Herd cohesion is our biggest welfare priority. Everything we do with our elephants is always looking at ways to provide cohesion within the herd, opportunities for social interaction and natural behaviors. Not only is it exciting to have Luk Chai here for the breeding aspect, but also for the social dynamic aspect."

Luk Chai currently tips the scales at an impressive 3.5 tonnes. His keepers describe him as outgoing and social.

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Melbourne Zoo forms part of the regional breeding program for Asian elephants. This program aims to provide a future for this endangered species.

"We hope to introduce him to our breeding females and give them opportunities to reproduce and have calves here at Melbourne Zoo,” Ms Gardiner said. “However, we will take our time and let him get to know them and vice versa."

In 2024 the elephants at Melbourne Zoo will make the move to an expansive new habitat at Werribee Open Range Zoo. This is part of an A$84.5million expansion of Werribee Open Range Zoo funded by the Victorian Government.

luk chai elephant moves to melbourne

Luk Chai the Asian elephant settles in at Melbourne Zoo

Photo Credit: Zoos Victoria

Learn more about Asian elephants – Asian Elephant Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Melbourne Zoo on their website – Melbourne Zoo

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