herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dubliners name Zoo's baby elephants after a poet and an emperor

MEET Kavi and Ashoka - two Indian elephant calves who have been named at Dublin Zoo.

Sally Cullen, from Balgriffin, chose the name Kavi, meaning poet or wise man, for the first calf, which was born on July 17.

Katie Bush, from Malahide, chose the name Ashoka - one of India's greatest emperors - for the second calf, born on August 19.

The names were chosen through a Facebook competition run by The Natural Confectionery Company, who provided hampers to the winners.

Elephant keeper, Donal Lynch, admitted there was great excitement yesterday when the names were announced following the public competition.

"It's a little bit like EastEnders around here," he said. Both of the zoo's attractions were fathered by the herd's resident 20-year-old bull elephant, Upali.

"This mimics behaviour in the wild, where a bull elephant comes in to a group of related females, and mates with whoever is receptive," he explains.

"Upali was hand-picked because he had fathered four elephants in Chester Zoo, and he's a lovely, steady animal - a real gentleman. He's interacting fantastically with the calves already."

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