An elderly elephant has been reunited with her daughter and granddaughter after a photograph of the three touching trunks through metal bars was published around the world.
In the wild, although bull elephants will tend to leave the herd to form new relationships, female elephants tend to remain with their mothers, and this reunion was part of a programme to slowly recreate this natural process in herds being held in captivity.
The reunion happened when the 39-year-old elephant, Pori, was moved from her former home in the capital city of Berlin to the Bergzoo in the city of Halle, in Germany’s east-central state of Saxony-Anhalt where she reunited with her 19-year-old daughter Tana after 12 years of separation.
The grandmother also met her granddaughters Tamika, 4 and Elani, 1.
The photograph was taken during a moment when the elephant house was closed to allow the separated family to once again get to know each other, and as the picture showed they wasted no time.
In fact, the reunion went so well, that they have now been reunited without bars as this heartwarming video shows.
Zookeepers arranged for all four to head out into the outdoor area of the elephant house where they were visibly happily about finally being together again.
Staff noticed the elephants communicating with each other by making low rumbling noises that sound similar to thunder, with lots of trunk contact.
Zookeeper and zoo director Dr Dennis Mueller said it was a really touching moment as the granddaughters Tamika and Elani met their elderly relative, with the littlest elephant even trying to suckle from his Gran. At one point she even lifted her leg to allow the youngster to safely stand underneath her.
He said the reunion meant the zoo based is the only one in Germany in which elephant cows from a single matriarchal line live together.
Pori is an African elephant (Loxodonta) who was born wild in Zimbabwe in 1981 and brought to Germany to the Magdeburg Zoo, where she lived from 1983 to 1997, when she was sent to the for Tierpark Berlin for breeding purposes.
In 2001, she gave birth to and raised her first calf Tana who she has now become reunited with.
The Zoo director, Dr Dennis Muller, said: “Pori’s arrival in Halle is an important step in modern elephant husbandry. In the future, all elephant herds in European zoos should be cared for in such natural family structures. Today we have come a great deal closer to this goal.”
The elephant population in zoos is monitored as part of a conservation breeding program (EEP), within which committees made up of experts from different zoos determine new herd compositions and the resulting animal moves.
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Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Joe Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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