Bunka (elephant)

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Sex: Male

Species: Asian elephant

Captive at: Yerevan Zoo, Armenia

Date of birth: 30 December 2007

Location of birth: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia (captive born)

Mother: Malka

Father: Bacho


Help raise awareness for Bunka. Download this image and share.
Help raise awareness for Bunka. Download this image and share Bunka's story using #FreeBunka

Bunka is a solitary Asian elephant living in captivity at the Yerevan Zoo in Armenia. He was born in captivity to parents Malka and Bacho at the Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia on the 30 December 2007. Bunka's father Bacho died in August 2008 at Tbilisi Zoo of autointoxication caused by peritonitis and hemorrhagic of duodenum.

Bunka was originally intended to be transferred to Antwerp Zoo but this did not go ahead, possibly as a result of biosecurity import restrictions at the time. Bukna was transferred to the Yerevan Zoo on the 9 July 2014 to replace Grand who was suffering with dental problems and two broken tusks.

Born Free UK describes Bunka's conditions as:

poor conditions, made worse when combined with the freezing winter temperatures in Armenia, provide a bleak existence for elephants. In 2021, Bunka was seen shut in his small inside quarters as snow fell outside, pacing in endless circles. His available outside area is a baren pen with nothing for him to do or stimulate his sad life in any way.[1]

Mark Stratton a British travel writer, broadcaster and photographer started Friends of Bunka with Tina Papadopoulou in April 2021. They began the campaign to Free Bunka and relocate him to a sanctuary. An assessment by Friends of Bunka performed in November 2022 concluded:

We recommend Yerevan Zoo consider the option of releasing Bunka to an established elephant sanctuary. This would be the best option for his future because credible sanctuaries offer large natural spaces that support elephants’ innate behaviours. They also have established management practices that support elephants to re-assert a degree of autonomy and offer opportunities for socialisation and more natural living. [2]


Date Origin Destination
9 July 2014 Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia Yerevan Zoo, Armenia

Videos of Bunka

Take action for Bunka

Sign & share the petition: Help Free Bunka the elephant from a life of loneliness in Yerevan Zoo change.org

Yerevan Zoo's twitter: @YerevanZoo

Contact your representative

Previous elephants at Yerevan Zoo

  • Vova who was killed aged 43 after destroying a barricade and escaping the zoo.[3]
  • Candy whose cause of death is unknown.

See also

List of living captive elephants

Category:Captive Elephants (living)

Category:Captive Elephants

Category:Captive Animals

Captive Animal Deaths 2023

External links

Free Bunka

Mark Stratton & Bunka Podcast - All About Animals Radio

Elephants living alone in zoos around the world The Animal Reader

ASSESSMENT REPORT Asian male elephant Bunka PDF

Բունկայի ընկերները»․ 70 000-ից ավելի մարդ կոչ է անում օգնել Երևանի կենդանաբանական այգու փղին (տեսանյութ) Նյութի աղբյուրը` Econews.am ["Friends of Bunka". More than 70,000 people call to help the elephant of the Yerevan zoo]

Elephants in Zoos: A Legacy of Shame Born Free

Letter from PREN to the Zoo Management Friends of Bunka

Lonely Elephant