The Queens Elephants In Copenhagen

Chiengmai. Tonsak.
Kungrao. Surin. The names of the star elephants at the Copenhagen Zoo are Thai
because they are from Thailand.

    Actually,
most of the elephants at the 149-year-old zoo are principally from Thailand due to
long-standing relations between the two countries.

    The first
two Thai elephants, Chang and Eng, arrived in Denmark
in 1878 as a gift from the Danish consul in Siam.

    The zoo’s
successful elephant breeding programme began when Their Majesties the King and
Queen gifted three elephants — Chiengmai, Lampoon and Buag Hah — to Their
Majesties Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid as a royal gift during their state visit
to Thailand in 1962.

    ‘‘Chiengmai
is now the great-grandfather of 12 calves,’’ said zoologist Bengt Holst
proudly. ‘‘They are housed in various zoos in Europe.’’

    In 2001, Denmark received another three elephants from Thailand. Two
of them — Tonsak and Kungrao — were royal gifts from Their Majesties the King
and Queen to Their Majesties Queen Margrethe II and Prince Consort Henrik
during their visit to Thailand.

    Surin is a
gift from the people of Surin province to the Danish people. ‘‘The Thai
elephants are our biggest attraction,’’ said the zoologist, adding that they
are considered the Queen’s royal elephants in Denmark.

    The royal
elephants were moved from castle-like quarters to a more natural and
stimulating abode this year, a ceremony presided by Prince Consort Henrik and
his grandson Prince Christian.

    The new
Elephant House is covered with glass domes to allow more sunlight, with better
temperatures and humidity control. The sand-covered floor helps protect the
elephants’ legs and feet while providing a soft ground to lie on.

    The outdoor
area is shaped like a dry river bed with mud holes and a deep ditch for the
elephants to bathe. There is also a distance between each feeding ground, thus
forcing the elephants to walk for food as they would do in the wild.

 

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