Three biggest animals in Tbilisi Zoo – Grand, Bacho and Begi
02 November, 2018
Three biggest animals in Tbilisi Zoo – Grand, Bacho and Begi
This week was very important for the Tbilisi Zoo staff – Grand elephant was operated and its tusk was removed by the South African doctors. Grand weighs around six tones. Its tusk was damaged almost 20 years ago during transportation from Yerevan to Tbilisi.

Grand damaged its tusks in November in 1999, on its way from Moscow Zoo to Yerevan. Grand was 4 years old then. Unfortunately, the vehicle that was carrying Grand was overturned and Grand’s tusks were damaged. Damages
were not visible from the outside, but doctors then found out that the trauma was very hard. Because of bleeding and the danger of infection, the Dutch doctors advised locals to wash Grand’s tusks every day.
Elephant Grand

Grand was operated back in 2014 for the first time and it was one of the hardest. It appeared that Grand had its tusks broken very close to jaws. That is why it was decided to make a medical operation.

Read more: Elephant to undergo surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Unfortunately, the first operation appeared to be problematic and lasted for more time than it was planned. It was hard for Grand to overcome anesthesia and stand up again. The second operation was to be held in 2015, but it was postponed due to sudden flooding in Tbilisi. BBC plans to make an episode about the current operation for TV series Big Animal Surgery.

Grand had overcome operation very well. Eats well and the most important – it does not suffer from pain anymore.
Elephant Bacho

Grand is not the only elephant in the Tbilisi Zoo. Tbilisi citizens still remember baby elephant called Bacho. Director of Tbilisi Zoo Zurab Gurielidze says that there were to elephants called Bacho. One of them was brought at the beginning of the 1990s from Kiev, Ukraine. That elephant died very soon. There are several versions why the elephant died. “One of the most popular version is that Bacho was radiated during pregnancy of its mother in Chernobyl. Pregnancy of Bacho’s mother coincided with explosion there” – says Zurab Gurielidze.
Elephant Bacho

Read more: Tusk of elephant Grand successfully removed in Tbilisi Zoo

There are two other elephants in the Tbilisi Zoo – Malka and Bacho (another one). Malka is considered to be the future partner for Grand. Their descendant Bunka now lives in Yerevan.
Elephant Bacho

One of the most famous inhabitants of the Tbilisi Zoo is Begi, a Behemoth that survived terrible flooding in 2015. Begi or Beglar lives in Tbilisi since 1999 and is 22 years old. Now it’s time to find a partner for Begi, but the staff still cannot find the appropriate one. Begi was born in Kaliningrad. Average life expectancy of behemoths is around 60 years. The reason why its partner is not still found is that the staff and facility are not ready to accept another behemoth.
Begi was caught in Tbilisi streets after 2015 flooding

Zurab Gurielidze says that behemoth is one of the most aggressive animals, but Begi is an exception – it is very calm. Nevertheless, he warns the zoo staff and others to be careful while being with it. Once, Begi attacked a member of the zoo staff. Fortunately, they were not harmed. Begi has a sense of humor as well – when there are lots of people watching at Begi, it splashes water at them.
Begi swims in its pool in Tbilisi Zoo
Behemoth Begi is 22 years old

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