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Science & Technology

After Months Of Study, NC Zoo Elephants Form A Herd

NC Zoo

Five of the African elephants at the North Carolina Zoo have formed a herd, according to zoo officials.

This comes after staffers spent months studying the behavior of each elephant and observing how they interact with each other.

Guy Lichty, the zoo's curator of mammals, said the process of integrating the elephants is made more difficult because many were pulled out of the wild before they had a chance to learn proper socialization.

"They've got to learn how to get along with others," said Lichty. "They already have a certain amount of manners and a certain amount of behavior, but dependent upon their upbringing, how much of those manners and understanding of social situations that they have will determine how successful they are in the group."

Lichty said the integration offers the elephants a richer social life, and hopefully, the chance to breed.

"With a social animal, social opportunity feeds into their well-being. We know that intuitively, but now we have science to back up the fact that actually has an effect on reproductive health," said Lichty, citing a recent study of elephant welfare.

Four females and one of the zoo's two males have been successfully integrated into a social group. The second male is in the process of being introduced to the herd.

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