The San Diego Zoo posted this heartwarming video of its newest elephant, Mila, meeting another elephant, Mary. The moment is particularly special since prior to this encounter, Mila had spent more than 30 years without coming into contact with another elephant, according to the zoo.
Mila arrived at the San Diego Zoo last November after being transferred from a New Zealand, where the 8,000-pound African elephant accidentally killed one of the zoo’s veterinarians. Before that, Mila had spent more than three decades in a travelling circus in New Zealand. She is now 41 years old.
It cost the New Zealand zoo more than $US1.5 million to get Mila to San Diego, according to The Dodo.
The San Diego Zoo provides this account of the first interaction between the two elephants:
In late January, we gave Mila the first opportunity to meet another elephant with limited interaction. We decided that Mary was the best option, given she is a dominant elephant in the herd, is relatively calm, and has a good track record with meeting newcomers. The first interaction was done with each elephant in separate adjoining yards, using a mesh wall as the barrier between the two elephants. We were uncertain how Mila would react; being excited, nervous, scared, aggressive, or submissive were all possibilities we could have expected to observe. Mary was curious of the newbie, while Mila was surprised to find something as big as her on the other side of the wall! These initial meet-and-greets have the potential to go in many different directions; there is no textbook answer to say how new elephants will react to one another. We use observation and our knowledge of elephant behaviour to gauge the success of the introductions.
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