A power struggle within a group of elephants at Emmen zoo has grown so out of hand that the zoo has decided to give away four of the herd free, the AD reports on Wednesday.
Photo: Emmen zoo
The power struggle erupted following the death of the herd’s matriarch Htoo Khin Aye in June, when she collapsed and died, squashing her three-week old calf in the process. Since then, two rival strands of the family have been fighting it out for control.
The two leading females – Htoo Khin Aye’s oldest daughter and another elephant who is the oldest female in the group – are now continually bullying each other, helped by their sisters and children.
The dispute has become so serious the two groups cannot exercise at the same time and have to be kept separated.
Now the zoo authorities have decided one female, her two sons and a daughter are to be found a new home and given away without charge. ‘It is a really awful situation,’ keeper Krista Nijstad told the paper. ‘I know them well enough to realise they are not happy and are suffering from stress. We’ve tried everything and nothing works. The only thing we can do is separate them.
‘They push each other, trumpet and flap their ears in anger,’ Wybren Landman, spokesman for the zoo, told the AD. ‘We have told other zoos the animals are available… If someone suitable comes forward, we will of course make absolutely sure it is a good place for them. But then they can go.’
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