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Zoos want to 'milk' elephant

Chawang, the bull elephant at the Night Safari that gained notoriety for

nearly goring its keeper to death in 2001, has been isolated once more for

aggressive behaviour. But this time, it is because the 29-year-old elephant

is in sexual heat, also known as musth. .

The condition, which can last three to five months, has seen Chawang hurl

mud balls at zookeepers, dig his tusks into the ground and chase buggies

that come near him. .

Said the curator of Zoology at the Night Safari, Mr Kumar Pillay: " The word

musth is a Persian word which means intoxication. We don't put in females

together with him when he is on musth because he is aggressive and we don't

want the females to be injured. .

" Once he is out of musth, he is always with the female and as a matter of

fact, we've got two breeding females right now and one of them is already

nursing a young and the other female has been mated by him and we are

hopeful she is pregnant. " .

And Chawang's popularity has also spread worldwide as a zoo in Europe is

planning to purchase his semen for use in artificial insemination in one of

their female elephants. Chawang's semen is valuable because he is one of the

few wild born elephants to be found in zoos, and he can contribute to the

genetic diversity of the global zoo elephant gene pool. — Channel NewsAsia

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