Three young Asian elephants will soon be flown to Moscow – all of them females, still lacking Russian names. Each four-year-old elephant weighs about a ton. They were given by the Government of the Union of Myanmar as a symbol of friendship and goodwill of the people of Myanmar to strengthen the existing relations and to mark the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between our countries. The elephants are to arrive in Russia in September, so that their adaptation is easiest, taking into account the climate difference. Moscow’s Department of Culture is responsible for the transit of the animals.
Asian (or Indian) elephants are the second largest land animals after African elephants. Adult females can reach a weight of almost four tons.
Their life span and developmental periods are comparable to those of humans; in the wild, they live around 50 years, and in captivity, 70-80 years. Asian elephants are long-time companions and partners of man. They are quickly tamed and easy to train. In Southeast Asia, elephants have helped people in logging, agriculture as well as in construction for centuries.
The new elephants travelling to Moscow are to join the Grandpa Durov's Corner animal theatre, where they will live and learn to be actors under the guidance of the artistic director, People's Artist of Russia Yury Durov and his daughter, actress and animal trainer Natalya Durova. The theatre has all the necessary facilities for preventive veterinary quarantine and subsequent maintenance of the elephants.
“Having elephants in productions is a long-standing tradition of the Durov dynasty of trainers, who have accumulated experience in training and keeping these animals and taking care of them from early years. The elephants will not appear on stage until a year after they arrive,” said Igor Bazarov, deputy art director for veterinary matters, a merited animal expert of the Russian Federation.
According to Bazarov, a theatre specialist and trainer will fly to Myanmar to help with the flight and subsequent adaptation of the elephants. He will spend the quarantine period with the animals and accompany them during the entire period of their transportation to Russia.
After the veterinary quarantine is over, the elephants will be transferred to a large elephant enclosure with an open-air part plus a swimming pool where they will meet an adult elephant, Suzy, who also came from Burma (now Myanmar) in 1980 and now lives and works at the Durov theatre.
The three elephants from Myanmar are descendants of the genus of domesticated elephants who have lived side by side with people since the end of the 19th century. Once they are born, these elephants are in close contact with people, accepting them as comrades, taking food from their hands, working and playing together.
The Durov Animal Theatre has been working in Moscow since 1912 and is famous for productions where animals are involved. A variety of animals participate in them side by side with human actors, among them well-known Petrovich the Bear, Jasmine the Monkey, Dolly the Donkey, Dobrynia the Hippo, and Suzy the Asian elephant.
Other Asian baby elephant calves can be seen at the Moscow Zoo. Filimon the Elephant was born there in spring 2017. His parents Pamir, 37, and Pipita, 36, came to the Moscow Zoo in 1985. Overall, the Moscow Zoo has four Asian elephants.