image credit: Thomas Breuer (Wikimedia Commons)

Seems some elephants are getting a bit of European style social welfare lately. Captive ones, that is. Oh, and only some captive elephants. Those in British circuses, many zoos and touristy theme parks in Thailand for instance, have it pretty rough indeed. Like I said, an elephant’s life can be pretty shit these days.

Nonetheless, one African elephant at an Austrian zoo has received an artificial insemination treatment and is now 9 months into her 22 month pregnancy. 22 months – must be why Christian symbolism uses the elephant to represent patience.

Though artificially inseminating elephants is nothing new, using frozen sperm from a wild bull is. This makes the pregnancy newsworthy, as does the following description from BBC News of how they got the sperm:

The sperm used to impregnate her came from a wild bull elephant in South Africa, which was drugged so that an ejaculation could be induced. An instrument called an electro-ejaculator was used to collect the semen.

After you have finished searching for electro-ejaculators on eBay (they don’t come in your size anyway) check out the following video about an elephant retirement home in Burma… I mean, Myanmar… no, wait, I mean Burma. It looks like a reasonably nice place.