In celebration of National Hug Day, the brand new Sydney Zoo has shared adorable CCTV footage of resident elephant brothers, Kavi and Ashoka, sharing a cuddle.
The footage shows Ashoka entering his barn and already lying down in a comfortable position. Then, 7-year-old Kavi comes to him, dropping down to Ashoka and snuggling up to him as he wants to be cuddled. In response, Ashoka raises his front leg and puts it on his brother to make a perfect spooning position.
“Humans aren’t the only ones that hug. Elephants are a social species that thrive from relationships they have with one another, ” Jo Maitland, elephant keeper at the Sydney zoo, explained. “Sleeping in close proximity is a natural display of affection and a way elephants’ bond with each other. Seeing animals share such a special bond is one the biggest privileges of being a zookeeper.”
Keepers from the zoo say when the duo aren’t spooning each other, they are just like typical boys and enjoy playing, swimming and, of course, sᴘᴀʀʀɪɴɢ. The two elephant brothers arrived at the zoo in late 2020 and are contributing to the Asian Elephant breeding program in Australasia led by the Zoo and Aquarium Association.
Elephants have long been the heartbeat through the forests of Asia. For thousands of years these sacred giants roamed the lands connected to ancient storylines. Being such magnificent and powerful beasts, Asian elephants were widely tamed to move heavy objects, felled trees, carry humans and even to wage ᴡᴀʀ. However, the past century has seen significant changes to Asia’s elephant story as ancient tribal lands and elephant habitat has been converted to agriculture and their numbers have fallen to around 40,000 animals.
A spokesperson said: “Moves across the globe like this are essential to enhance global genetic diversity and provide an insurance population for ᴇɴᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ Asian Elephants. Kavi and Ashoka will act as advocates for the conservation of their species.”