DE
29.03.17

Welcome home, Gajendra!

Gajendra, the elephant bull, has been back at Hellabrunn Zoo since Wednesday morning. After spending two years at Leipzig Zoo and four years at Hagenbeck Zoo, he has now returned to his home in Munich. His return journey overnight from Hamburg to Munich in a customised elephant transport crate went smoothly.

Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

Tierpark Hellabrunn/Joerg Koch

Gajendra, the elephant bull, has been back at Hellabrunn Zoo since Wednesday morning. After spending two years at Leipzig Zoo and four years at Hagenbeck Zoo, he has now returned to his home in Munich. His return journey overnight from Hamburg to Munich in a customised elephant transport crate went smoothly.

Hellabrunn Zoo has been home to Gajendra since he first arrived in Munich as an elephant calf from a shelter for working elephants in India in 1994. He grew up here in Munich, where he developed from a somewhat weakly juvenile into a powerful elephant bull now weighing about five tonnes. And he gets on very well his elephant girls Steffi, Panang, Temi and Mangala: he has already fathered offspring with two of them.

Gajendra returns to Hellabrunn to discover the zoo now has a new spacious, state-of-the-art Elephant House with an outdoor bull enclosure. The reason Gajendra had to be transferred from Hellabrunn on 8 January 2011 was due to the need for renovation work on the dilapidated former Elephant House, which, at the time, was almost 100 years old. The provisional accommodation made available for the pachyderms was only suitable for female elephants on account of its structural conditions. As a result, Gajendra was transferred – first temporarily to Leipzig, and then in April 2013 to Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg. During his stay in Hamburg he fathered several calves, including two already born: Anjuli and Kanja.

On Wednesday morning, the moment finally arrived: after a six-year absence, Gajendra stepped out of the transport crate and into the Elephant House at Hellabrunn Zoo - his new, old home - at 7:30 am. "We were all very excited to see how Gajendra would react to the new Elephant House," says curator Beatrix Köhler. "Gajendra was very relaxed and seemed to feel right back at home. Naturally, he will have plenty to discover, such as the revamped outdoor facilities and the new wading pools. Elephants have very good long-term memory, so Gajendra will still be familiar with the other elephants as well as his former keepers, and therefore quickly settle in the new house."

Christine Strobl, Chairman of Tierpark Hellabrunn AG and Mayor, is delighted with the return of the elephant bull: "Hellabrunn's elephant herd is now complete again and Gajendra will certainly enjoy the new, more spacious Elephant House."

Zoo director Rasem Baban, who was also present when Gajendra arrived, said on the morning his return: "We are delighted that Gajendra has returned and that everything has worked out so well. Our special thanks to the staff at Hagenbeck Zoo, who have done a wonderful job of preparing Gajendra for his journey. Naturally, we would also like to thank Leipzig Zoo, which gave Gajendra a temporary home in 2011 at short notice."

The Elephant House was closed on Wednesday to allow the elephants to reunite in peace. From Thursday, visitors will be able to see Gajendra in his stall or in the outdoor bull enclosure.


The current residents of the Elephant House at Hellabrunn Zoo are:


Gajendra
Born 1993 in India
At Hellabrunn since December 1994 to January 2011, returned home in March 2017.
The Hellabrunn elephant bull has already reproduced offspring with Panang and Temi. He is the father of Ludwig, who was born at Hellabrunn in May 2011. Ludwig now lives in Heidelberg.


Steffi
Born 1966 in India
At Hellabrunn since: 1968
The head of the elephant herd can be easily recognised by her long, slender, trunk. The trunk is partly lame. Despite the lameness, Steffi enjoys a normal life.

 

Panang
Born 13.2.1989 in Zürich Zoo
At Hellabrunn Zoo since: 1995
Panang is a rather small, feisty female elephant. Her distinguishing features are her flapping ears and the smooth skin of her trunk.


Mangala
Born 1993 in India
At Hellabrunn Zoo since: December 1994
Mangala, the second youngest female elephant at Hellabrunn, is very caring. Her favourite toy is a truck tyre.

 

Temi
Born 2.11.2001 in Tierpark Berlin
At Hellabrunn Zoo since: 2006
The name Temi means "daughter" in Burmese. The youngest female elephant at Hellabrunn is very self-confident.