Bong Su at Royal Melbourne Zoological Park

Male Asian elephant Bong Su at Royal Melbourne Zoological Park

Bong Su and Kulab. Melbourne Zoo 2008. Photo: © Molly Flora
Bong Su
ID Number:Local id Number: 770004 -    ASMP Number: 48 - 
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male 43 years
Management:Protected contact
Location:Royal Melbourne Zoological Park
ArrivedRoyal Melbourne Zoological Park 1977-02-01
from Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Education Centre
Born:1974-08-03 wild Malaysia
Offspring, year of birth, year of death:

    Total: 5 babies

  1. (F) 2010-01-16 Mali
  2. (M) 2010-03-10 Pathi Harn
  3. (M) 2010-09-10 Ongard
  4. (M) 2013-01-17 -- † 2013-12-03 Sanook
  5. (M) 2013-12-08 Man Jai
Document updated2010-01-17: Image, Text
2010-05-22: ASMP Nr
2012-03-13: local id
Wildborn in Pahang.

The two oldest residing elephants of the Royal Melbourne Zoological Park, Bong Su and Mek Kapah, arrived in 1977 and 1978, respectively. They would remain together alone until the import of three juvenile females from Thailand in 2006.

The $15 million "Trail of the Elephants" exhibit opened in 2003, the result of preparations for building a regional captive elephant breeding program, one of the first in Australia. Under a joint collaboration between the Melbourne and Taronga Zoos, eight elephants were imported from Thailands successful and large domestic breeding population. Legal action and protests, located in both Thailand and Australia, delayed the elephants importation for two years after quarantine in both southern Thailand and the Cocos Islands. Diplomatic and ministerial negotiations between the two countries succeeded and, in November 2006, the eight animals were flown to the Avalon Airport by a Russian Ilyushin cargo plane and delivered to their new homes via tray trucks. Females Num-Oi, Kulab and Dokkoon found new home in Melbourne, while females Tong Dee, Tang Mao, Porntip, and Pak Boon and male Gung made residence in Sydney.

In March 2008, fifteen year old Dokkoon was artificially inseminated by elephant fertility experts from Berlin and zoo vets with sperm from the zoos bull, Bong Su. She was confirmed pregnant in June via ultrasound. She was the first elephant in Australia to conceive a calf through AI and gave birth in January 2010 to a female calf.

In November 2008, a second pregnancy at the Melbourne Zoo was initiated after ten year old Kulab was artificially inseminated by elephant fertility experts from Berlin and zoo vets with sperm from the zoos bull, Bong Su. She was confirmed pregnant in February via ultrasound.

The Melbourne Zoos bull elephant Bong Su, who arrived in February 1977 as a gift from the Sultan of Pahang, West Malaysia, is said to be the one of the worlds most fertile Asian elephants in the world. His sperm concentration was repeatedly measured between 2.2-2.5 billion per milliliter, compared to the average 600-800 million per milliliter. He is involved in research projects regarding freezing and exporting sperm after the donation of a sperm-freezing machine from the German Government.

The new calf, born to seventeen year old first time mother Dokkoon, set several records. She was the first elephant born in the 147-year history of the Melbourne Zoo and the first elephant born via artificial insemination in Australia. She was the second elephant born in Australia, following the birth of a male calf in July 2009 at the Taronga Zoo. She joined the current herd of three females, her dam, and her sire, Bong Su.

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