Gaby the elephant leaves Israel for new home in Turkey

Gaby the elephant leaves Israel for new home in Turkey

Gaby cools off in the water at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.

October 05, 2010, Tuesday/ 18:08:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
An Israeli ship carrying a young elephant and other animals prepared to depart Israel for Turkey on Monday, showing that cooperation between zoos in the two countries has not been affected by tensions in the political sphere. Israel’s Jerusalem Post daily reported on Monday that an Israeli zoo will send a ship with animals bound for Turkey’s largest zoo in efforts to help save some of these species from extinction.

The report said the cargo consists of three elephants, zebras, a hippo and a handful of lemurs, courtesy of the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, known as the Biblical Zoo, and the Ramat Gan Safari.

The animals will be transferred to the Gaziantep Metropolitan Zoo, Turkey’s largest, which has good conditions awaiting the new arrivals. The three elephants from Jerusalem and Ramat Gan will be the first elephants at the zoo.

One of the elephants, Gaby, is five years old, and the first elephant to be born in Israel by artificial insemination. Shmulik Yedvad, the Biblical Zoo’s head curator, who raised and cared for Gaby from the day he was born, told The Jerusalem Post that it was difficult to part from the elephant.

“He is becoming more mature and we needed to find a new home for him,” he said. Male adult elephants are difficult to keep in captivity because they are very aggressive. It’s difficult, but we know he’s going to a place where they will take care of him and where he’s wanted,” Yedvad said.

According to Yedvad, it may be very easy to view this as a new flotilla to Turkey, but he said they are not working government to government but rather zoo to zoo. “Happily, everyone is working together for the good of the animals, and the politics are just not relevant,” he said.

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