Asian elephant Luk Chai has left Dubbo to join a new herd at Melbourne Zoo.
The much-loved Taronga Western Plains Zoo resident left on Wednesday, travelling overnight to his new home.
Luk Chai was accompanied on his 10-hour trip by two elephant keepers, a senior vet and vet nurse. Regular stops were made along the way to ensure the elephant was travelling well and to provide food for him.
In the lead up to the move, Luk Chai undertook regular training sessions to ensure he was familiar with the crate he would be travelling in during the road trip.
Luk Chai will join a group of unrelated females at Melbourne Zoo as a breeding bull.
Dubbo elephant keeper Bradd Johnston said Luk Chai was following his nature by becoming a dominant breeding member for his species.
"Luk Chai is an easy going and very social elephant who has been a fabulous play mate and herd member to every elephant in Taronga's Asian Elephant program," he said.
"He has spent the past decade learning the skills required to fulfil the breeding bull role from his father Gung, who is at present the only natural breeding bull in Australia at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
"At his new home Luk Chai will join a group of unrelated females that will provide him with the opportunity to put the important skills he has learned so far into practice as he matures."
It is hoped Luk Chai will successfully sire the next generation of calves, creating a new genetic bloodline and in doing so bring the elephant programs at both zoos closer together.
The elephant holds a special place in the heart of Dubbo's keepers.
"A couple of keepers, including myself, have been with him since he was born and watched him grow, but we look forward to watching him from afar fulfil his role as a breeding bull, ensuring a successful future for Asian elephants in Australia," Mr Johnston said.
On Friday morning, Zoos Victoria posted on social media to say their new herd member was doing well.
"Welcome to the family, Luk Chai! We're happy to report Luk Chai is settling in and exploring his new home - ears are flapping and trunks are up," the post said.
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