• The Zoo officials at Delhi and Mysuru are grappling to find mate for the only two African elephants in the country.
  • African Elephants are the largest land mammals and are different from Asian elephants.
  • Besides availability the mating of these elephants involves monetary, legal, logistical and importantly, ethical considerations.
  • There are only two African elephants in India i.e., Shankar at Delhi Zoo and Richie at Mysuru Zoo.
  • In 2021, a petition was moved in the Delhi High Court seeking Shankar’s relocation to a sanctuary that houses other African elephants.
  • In July last year, the High court said that it would not permit taking the elephant to South Africa and that possibility of importing a female elephant should be explored.
  • The relocation of the elephant to a national park or sanctuary in India is not possible due to:
  • Its different evolutionary history and genesis from the Asian elephant
  • Different habitat and environment conditions
  • It being an alien species for Indian habitats.
  • Since the African elephants have a strong social structure and familiar ties, importing a single female in the group may cause psychological stress.
  • Efforts are being made to acquire at least two unrelated, compatible females with one sub-adult male to augment genetic variability.
  • Besides approvals from the Central Zoo Authority and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, importing an animal would require a CITES permit.
  • CITES refers to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, a multilateral treaty.


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