Posted In Visitors | 26th June 2024

Tonnes of Excitement! Asian elephant bull Aung Bo arrives at Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo is delighted to welcome mighty Asian elephant bull, Aung Bo, at the state-of-the-art elephant habitat at the Kaziranga Forest Trail.

Aung Bo, who weighs almost five tonnes and is three metres tall, is 22 years old and arrived from Chester Zoo in England. Although large in size, Aung Bo has a very gentle nature, and visitors can expect to see him curiously climbing to find delicious morsels of trees, his favourite food.

Aung Bo joins an all-female herd at Dublin Zoo – Dina (40 years), Asha (17 years), Samiya (10 years), Zinda (8 years), and Avani (7 years), and will be introduced to them over the coming weeks.

This is an especially exciting arrival, as Aung Bo will be the first bull elephant with tusks to inhabit Dublin Zoo. Tusks are elongated front teeth that protrude beyond the mouth of elephants, among other species. They can be used for digging, foraging and stripping bark from trees. In Asian elephants, only some males have large, prominent tusks.

Asian elephants are the second-largest land mammals in the world and are one of the last few remaining plant-eating mammals that reach a weight of more than 1,000 kilograms, known as megaherbivores. Due to their size, they require huge quantities of food and often spend three-quarters of the day feeding on grass, tree bark, roots, and leaves. They are mostly found in forests, grassland and shrubland in a number of countries in South and Southeast Asia, including India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Borneo.

Marc Enderby, Assistant Curator at Dublin Zoo, said:

“It is a really exciting time for the team as we welcome Aung Bo to the habitat at the Kaziranga Forest Trail. He’s a truly awesome creature, and visitors will undoubtedly be impressed by his huge tusks. We have been working closely with the team at Chester Zoo and it will be great to see him settling in comfortably and enjoying snacking on trees over the coming weeks.”

Asian elephants are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Aung Bo will be joining Dublin Zoo as part of the Asian elephant European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which aims to protect this endangered species from extinction. The main threats to this species are habitat loss, human-elephant conflict over crops, and poaching for their ivory tusks. It is estimated that there are approximately 40,000 – 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild. Dublin Zoo also supports the Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF), which is involved in the conservation of Asian elephants in South and Southeast Asia.