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Monday, 4 October 2010

One elephant, special delivery

As far as gifts go, this is a doozy.

Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo is sending a large package to Turkey - registered delivery, because though this package is large, it's very fragile.

Accompanied by his caretaker, five-year-old Gabi the elephant is leaving his mother and sister behind and travelling over the sea to Turkey's Gaziantep Zoo. From a naughty, flighty youngster, Gabi is now a well-behaved adolescent - although having reached his sexual maturity this may change.

 Gabi in younger days (right) with his mother.

Relations between Israel and Turkey hit an all-time low in May when Israeli commandos raided a Turkish-backed flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed.

Zoo curator Shmulik Yedvab said the strained relations between the two countries did not hinder Operation Gabi.

"Unlike many political issues, the relationship between zoos, no matter which countries are involved, are excellent because we have one main goal which is for all of us and that's, again, breeding endangered species," he told Reuters Television.

Upon his departure from Haifa port, Gabi will join three hippos, two zebras, another elephant and seven lemur monkeys sent from Israel's Ramat Gan safari zoo to Turkey.

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