Search on to find friend for Scotland's only elephant
- 6 January 2017
- From the section Tayside and Central Scotland
The home of Scotland's only elephant has launched a search to find her a friend after the death of her long-term companion.
Mondula, known as Mondy, has been on her own at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling since neighbour Toto died aged 46 last March.
The park is now in contact with zoos across Europe to find company for the "cheeky and clever" 46-year-old.
Mondy and Toto lived together for almost 20 years.
Blair Drummond Safari Park education officer Katie Macfarlane said that, despite not being the closest of friends, Mondy was affected by Toto's death.
She told the BBC Scotland news website: "For a few days she was quite sad and upset and you could tell she was wondering what had happened.
"In the family groups in the wild it has been seen that they mourn each other, but Toto and Mondy weren't related.
So, there were was a bond in the sense that they are very intelligent animals, but it wasn't a family bond."
The keepers have been working with Mondy every day through training to keep her stimulated following the loss of Toto.
Miss Macfarlane said: "In the first wee while she was a bit upset and she lost a bit of weight but she's doing really well now."
Any potential new companion will need to be an older African elephant which recognises Mondy's dominant nature.
Miss Macfarlane said: "It's her house, she's lived here for 20-odd years, so you've got to make sure that they're going to let her be the boss to a certain extent.
"The keepers would never want her to be on her own for the rest of her retirement, so it was always a thought from day one.
"But it takes time. You can't just throw elephants together and expect them to be friends."
Mondy's new companion will be introduced to her gradually, with the pair initially being kept in separate enclosures.
Miss Macfarlane said the keepers were now trying "really hard" to find a new friend for Mondy.
She said: "The elephant building that we currently have was built in 2013 and was specifically designed as a retirement home almost.
"We work constantly with a lot of zoos through breeding programmes and the park managers are in touch with all the zoos that have African elephants in Europe.
"We said since we lost Toto that it wouldn't be immediate and it wouldn't be healthy for Mondy for it to be immediate.
"We have to give her a bit of time to get used to the new situation."