Sri Lanka has donated two young female Indian elephants to the Prague zoo, where they will arrive on Saturday, flown to the Czech Republic by a Sri Lankan military plane, Prague zoo director Miroslav Bobek has told the media.
The elephants, eight-year-old Janita and seven-year-old Tamara, come from the elephant zoo in Pinnawale.
“The Hercules C-130 with them is to take off on Saturday at 01:00 the local time,” Bobek, who is staying in Colombo, said.
In return, the Prague zoo will send two comodo dragons, two Przewalski horses and two young hippopotamuses to the Colombo zoo.
Nevertheless, the elephant acquisition is Sri Lanka’s gift to the Czech Republic rather than routine exchange of animals between zoos, Bobek said.
Prague zoo deputy director Jaroslav Simek said it is a unique project that will largely help extend the genetic base of the European breeding of Indian elephants.
“The elephant acquisition is the result of long-lasting efforts of [Czech] ambassador Miloslav Stasek and other officials from the Czech diplomatic mission to New Delhi, of the Czech Foreign Ministry and also of the fans of the Prague zoo,” Bobek said.
Owing to Sri Lanka’s offer to use its own plane to transfer the animals the Prague zoo will save money for the costly transfer.
The whole project that has been prepared for two years will cost the zoo 4.5 million crowns.
The newcomer elephants will be accommodated in a new pavilion that has been completed in the Prague zoo and that is now inhabited by an Indian elephant male and three females, including a pregnant one.
The Prague zoo wanted to bring four new elephants from Sri Lanka but the country never provides more than two to foreign applicants. (CTK)