UK-based renowned Chester Zoo houses a wide range of animal species such as giraffes, lions, tigers, primates, reptiles, elephants, crocodiles and many more.
With over 20,000 animals and 128 acres of zoological gardens, the zoo has a large enclosure for Asian elephants that are made according to their habitat needs.
Elephant calves keep this enclosure alive with their playful antics and one of the calves, ‘Anjan’, is known to keep his visitors, other elephants and animal keepers busy with his playful nature.
Born on May 17, 2018, the calf is named after an Assam-based conservationist, Anjan Baruah.
Baruah is now working as an official in 'Aaranyak', one of India's foremost biodiversity conservation organisations based in Guwahati. He is associated with Aaranyak's elephant conservation efforts focused on mitigating conflicts between human beings and elephants.
On Wednesday (May 17), the elephant calf turned 5 years old and the zoo has been awash with joy. While the calf’s father, Aung Bo, is also with him, who was relocated to Chester Zoo from Sevilla Exotic Animals Reserve located in Spain, his mother, Thi Ha Way, died in September 2020 due to arthritis problems.
"I worked for Chester Zoo for 13 years in an elephant-human coexistence project in Assam and prior to that as well was involved in human-elephant conflict mitigation programmes. During my involvement in the conservation project, I visited Chester Zoo as well. The zoo welcomed a male elephant baby on May 17, 2018. Later, I received an email from a zoo official informing me that the newborn calf was named after me," Baruah said.
"I was overwhelmed by the gesture of Chester Zoo's authority and it made me extremely happy at the same time. A photograph of Anjan, the newborn elephant was sent to me. Rich Fraser, a senior elephant enclosure expert, used to send me regular updates on little Anjan, such as vaccinations and growth. Today is a very happy occasion for me as it is Anjans birthday. God bless him with very good health. My emotional connection with him makes me long to see him at the zoo someday soon," Aaranyak official Baruah said.
Aaranyak has been striving to protect Asian elephants through research, advocacy and community engagement to mitigate conflicts, promote habitat conservation as well as raise awareness about the importance of elephant conservation.