Delhi: Zoo authorities searching partner for African elephant

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) The National Zoological Park in Delhi on Wednesday said they are searching a partner for 28-year-old African elephant and exploring options with their counterparts in other countries.

Shankar, the African elephant from Zimbabwe, was gifted to India in 1998, when he was only 26 months old.

The elephant has been alone since the death of his partner, Bombai, in 2005.

A senior zoo official said they are exploring the options in Asia, Africa and Europe to get a partner for Shankar.

The department is checking all options and will approach the authorities concerned accordingly.

They said that if needed, the animal exchange programme can also be sought.

Shankar is one of the two African elephants in Indian zoos, the second being another male at Mysuru Zoo.

Nikita Dhawan, the founder of Youth For Animals, had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court seeking the release and rehabilitation of the animal in a suitable wildlife sanctuary.

She had claimed that the elephant was a victim of cruelty and viciousness at the hands of the zoo caretaker and that "his condition is nothing less than illegal imprisonment".

In July 2022, the high court had asked the Central Zoo Authority to explore the possibility of bringing a female African elephant to give company to Shankar.

Earlier, the zoo had said that they had shortlisted South Africa as it has a good population of African elephants and could provide a suitable match for Shankar.

The Delhi zoo currently has two Asian elephants and one African elephant. PTI NIT AS AS

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