Prague Zoo’s baby elephants to be named at a public ceremony this Sunday

The two female elephants will be the basis of the zoo's breeding program for the next 50 years

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 19.06.2020 11:14:00 (updated on 07.10.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Two baby elephants at Prague Zoo will get their names on Sunday, June 24. Both elephants this year will receive names chosen by their breeders. Visitors to the Elephant Valley can also enjoy a competition, traditional Indian dance performances, guided meetings and the production of elephant paper.

The female Indian elephants, which were born at the Prague Zoo on March 27 and May 9, represent the future of elephant breeding for the next half century. They will remain in Prague and will lay the foundation for the creation of a new family group. Both were born while the zoo was facing restrictions due to coronavirus, and the medical teams had to be take special precautions.

The names will be given in the Sinhala language, spoken in Sri Lanka, from where their mothers Tamara and Janita arrived at the Prague Zoo in 2012.

This is not the zoo’s first elephant pair. Both Janita and Tamara gave birth to offspring in 2016. Their sons, Maxmilian and Rudolf, were the first elephant calves conceived and born in Prague. Each of them weighs more than one ton now.

The Prague zoo has kept elephants since 1933. There are nine of them now, counting the two newborns. The oldest is Gulab, a female the zoo acquired in 1966. Apart from Janita, Tamara, Max, Rudi and Rudi’s father, Ankhor, there is also Shanti, a female.

In 2013, the zoo opened the new Elephant Valley enclosure worth 500 million CZK, the biggest complex ever opened by a Czech or Slovak zoo, including a pool.

Sunday’s program begins on stage between the outdoor elephant enclosure and the Gulab restaurant at 9:20 am with a screening of a film about Prague elephants, followed by a traditional Indian performance by Rasabihari Das and interviews with elephant breeders and invited godparents.

Shortly before 11 am, the names of both female elephants will be revealed. From 10 am to 6 pm, an accompanying program will take place.

Accompanying program:

Visitor competition for a souvenirs with an elephant cub motif: Between 11 am and 4 pm, visitors can take a quiz about elephants. The winner will be announced on the address system at 4:30 pm, and the prize will be picked up at the Information Center at the main entrance.

Wishes and gifts for baby elephants: From 11 am and 4 pm visitors will be able to paint and write greetings for the baby elephants on a large model of baby elephants. Throughout the day, those interested can also create enrichment gifts for our elephant family (paper tubes filled with hay and delicacies for elephants). Gifts and wishes will be given to breeders at the end of the day.

Get to know our elephant family: Every hour from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, there will be special guided meetings (in Czech) with elephants, focusing on our elephant family, on the topic of young and parental care for elephants.

Screening of a new film about elephants from the Prague Zoo: On the screen at the lookout at the male elephant enclosure opposite the wolf exhibition.

Airbrush Tattoos: From 10 am to 5 pm, visitors will be able to get free tattoos with elephant motifs or oriental designs.

Accompanying program in Papírna: From 10 am to 6 pm, visitors will be able to try out theproduction of paper from elephant droppings, which they can shape into an elephant silhouette. The resulting elephant paper can be decorated.

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