Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Elephant Born in Turkey

The Izmir Sasali Wildlife Park celebrated the birth of Turkey's first elephant on February 5. The 242 pound calf was the first for its nine year old father and 17 year old mother, raising the park's herd of Asian elephants to three.

New calf and mother "Begumcan" at Izmir Wildlife Park
Photo Courtesy of

Pak Bahadur
The Izmir Zoo acquired their first elephant in 1955 when he was offered as a gift from the government of Pakistan. Pak Bahadur was born there eight years prior and kept as a single elephant in Turkey for 41 years until the arrival of Begumcan in 1996. The 59 year old elephant died in July 2007 during an operation on his foot and leg; he was considered Europe's oldest male elephant.

Pak Bahadur at the Izmir Zoo, 2000s
Photo Courtesy of

The Izmir Zoo acquired a two year old Asian elephant in 1996 as a gift from India's president, Kocheril Raman Narayanan. Named Begumcan, the animal became a companion for the zoo's lone 50 year old bull, Pak Bahadur. After Bahadir's death in 2007, the following year the zoo acquired another male, a young captive born animal from Israel, for Begumcan's companionship.

Winner and Begumcan at Izmir Wildlife Park, 09/2009
Photo Courtesy of Güneş Er, Guneser Photography

Winner was born at the Ramat Gan Zoo in Israel in August 2002, the number 12 of 13 born to his sire Motek and dam Warda. In July 2008, the six year old animal was transferred to the Izmir Zoo to begin a breeding program with the insititution's single female elephant Beguman. Three months later, the pair was transferred to a larger and more natural exhibit at the Izmir Sasali Wildlife Park. The 15,000 square meter exhibit and 550 square meter indoor housing boasts only one of two locations housing elephants in the country.

Winner at Izmir Wildlife Park, 09/2009
Photo Courtesy of Sinan Yuzakli

Pak Bahadur (Bahadir), Asian Male, SB 5010
1948 - Birth, Pakistan
1955 - Izmir Zoo, Turkey
22 Jul 2007 - Death, Izmir Zoo, Turkey

Winner, Asian Male, SB 200208
18 Aug 2002 - Birth, Ramat Gan Zoo, Tel Aviv, Israel
26 Jul 2008 - Izmir Zoo, Izmir, Turkey
25 Oct 2008 - Izmir Sasali Wildlife Park, Izmir, Turkey
>> Winner at

Begumcan, Asian Female, SB 9410
1996 - Birth, Pakistan
04 Oct 1998 - Izmir Zoo, Izmir, Turkey
28 Oct 2008 - Izmir Sasali Wildlife Park, Izmir, Turkey

Izmir, Asian Female
05 Feb 2011 - Birth, Izmir Sasali Wildlife Park, Izmir, Turkey

For Additional Information
>> "Europes oldest elephant bull, Pak Bahadýr is dead,", 07/23/2007

>> "Winner and Begümcan look happy,", 08/08/2008

>> "First elephant to be born in Turkey,", 02/10/2011

>> Izmir Zoo, Turkey at

>> Izmir Wildlife Park


  1. From Sinan Yuzakli:

    "Actually, I have a question in my mind. The columnist of the newspaper said that, the baby elephant is the first to born in Turkish Republic (since 1923). "First baby elephant to born in Turkey" might be misleading, as the country also called "Turkey" back in the Ottoman times. However I don't have any info or sources, if in Ottoman times there were elephants at the zoos or in the wild in Turkey?!"

    Can anyone help to clear up this inquiry? Some of the first recorded elephant births in Europe occured as early as 1902, though very little is recorded regarding this region.

  2. Hi,

    Today the baby elephant made her first public appereance :) An internet poll was conducted by Izmir Municipialty, the owner of the Izmir Wild Life Park to name her. According to the poll's results, she was named "Izmir" after the city she was born, by 86.000 votes. You can view her latest pictures here



  3. Thank you very much for the update, Sinan.

    By your comment I assume they determined the newborn calf is a female?

    Please keep us abreast of the newest information regarding the new family and also of any other elephant news in Turkey!

  4. My pleasure Ryan,

    Affirmative. Newborn calf is a female. I'll do my best to keep you updated.

    Here's a link to the interesting story of Mohini, first elephant in Turkey (1950), a gift from then Indian President Nehru to Turkish children. (Page is in Turkish, but there are interesting pics. I wish I had time to translate it. You may use Google Translate to get an idea though.)



I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.