Two elephant cows join Nong Nooch in effort to repopulate forests

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Two wild female elephants are now calling Nong Nooch Tropical Garden home as the Pattaya elephant park and the Royal Elephant Reintroduction Foundation work to increase Thailand’s native pachyderm population.

Premjit Hemawat, the foundation’s general manager, and a team of elephant handlers and veterinarians delivered Thongkam and Doreme from the Sab Lanka Natural Forest to the park June 8. The intent is to have the two wild elephants breed with two Nong Nooch bulls, Bird, 33, and Ning Nong, 17.

Handlers bring 2 female elephants to Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens with hopes of them becoming pregnant before being returned to the wild.Handlers bring 2 female elephants to Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens with hopes of them becoming pregnant before being returned to the wild.

Doctors checked the bulls’ blood and ran other tests to be sure all conditions were right for successful breeding. It will take time for the animals to become familiar with each other. If the females become pregnant, they will be moved back to the elephant sanctuary in the Lopburi forest.

Nong Nooch is helping restore Thailand’s wild elephant population by donating four of its popular pachyderms to a foundation working to release 81 elephants into nature. Two cows, yet to be selected, will act as breeders. Elephant cows average only 1 calf every four years and each pregnancy runs 22 months.

Nong Nooch currently has 41 elephants in its stables, 36 of which are female. Of those, five are pregnant.

The foundation was founded in 2007 to mark HM the Queen’s 80th birthday with a pledge to collect 81 elephants to release into the wild.