October 23, 2009

Hindu priest blesses baby elephant

by Benjamin Graham

A baby elephant was blessed and named by a Hindu priest at a Leicestershire zoo this week.

Brahmin Shree Mahendra Pandya prayed over the elephant and placed a red dot on the animal’s forehead.

During the ceremony at Twycross Zoo the ten-week-old elephant was named Ganesh Vijay.

The calf is the first to be born at the zoo, and was conceived by artificial insemination.

Ganesh Vijay’s mother, Noorjahan, was inseminated from a bull elephant based at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire.

The procedure was carried out artificially because moving animals between zoos for mating can upset herd dynamics.

Suzanne Boardman, director of Twycross Zoo, said: “The arrival of the calf has created lots of excitement and he is a definite crowd pleaser, especially amongst the young children.

“He has regular times in the outdoor enclosure where the visitors are able to take delightful pictures of him.”

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