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Tuesday, 10 July 2012
On Monday 9th July, Dublin Zoo welcomed one of the most highly anticipated arrivals in many years - Upali an Asian bull elephant. Upali arrived from Chester Zoo at midnight on Thursday July 5th.
Upali is now the largest animal at Dublin Zoo. He is 17 years old, measures 3 metres tall and weighs over 6,000kgs, equivalent to the weight of ten Friesian cows.
Upali’s arrival is a momentous development for both the Zoo and the international breeding programme as he joins three breeding females - sisters Bernhardine and Yasmin, and Yasmin’s calf Anak. It is expected that the elephants will mate soon and double the size of the Dublin Zoo herd over the coming years.
Preparation for Upali’s arrival began last September when construction of the bull elephant house commenced. To accommodate Upali comfortably, the purpose built structure, which was designed and project managed by OPW, is 200 square metres with a glass ceiling, radiant heating and 1.5 metre deep sand for the elephant to stand on.
Development of the bull elephant house was made possible through funding awarded to Dublin Zoo, by the Government and administered by OPW. Since 1994 the funding has enabled Dublin Zoo to redevelop and create habitats such as The World of Primates, The World of Cats, The Fringes of the Arctic, The African Plains, The Gorilla Rainforest and The Kaziranga Forest Trail. In addition, the funding allowed Dublin Zoo to improve veterinary and horticulture facilities and refurbish the historic Haughton House.
In addition to Upali’s arrival, Dublin Zoo’s youngest member of the elephant group, Budi, moved to Antwerp Zoo on July 4 as part of the international breeding programme. This move is the first stage of Budi’s integration with other herds where he will continue to mature and will eventually breed.
Asian elephants are endangered in the wild and it is estimated that only 30,000 – 40,000 exist in the wild.
Facts about the Asian elephants at Dublin Zoo:
- Upali is the largest animal in Dublin Zoo. He is 17 years old, measures 3 metres tall and weighs 6,000kgs.
- Bernhardine arrived at Dublin Zoo in October 2006. ‘Dina’ is the oldest female and the matriarch of the group. She is 25 years old, weighs approximately 3,700kgs and measures 2.75 metres tall. Dina is a calm, steady and easy-going elephant.
- Yasmin is Dina’s sister and arrived at Dublin Zoo in 2007. Yasmin, a 19 old female weighs approx 4,000kgs and measures 2.75 metres tall.
- Anak was born to Yasmin in 2004 in Rotterdam Zoo. She weighs 2,200kgs and measures 2 metres tall. Anak is a very confident young elephant.
- Asha was the first elephant calf born in the Republic of Ireland and was born to mum Dina in February 2007. She now weighs 1,400kgs, measures 1.5 metres tall and is still very playful.