The first attempt in Japan to play matchmaker to African bush elephant pairs by moving females between two separate zoos has failed, with a male elephant's death and unfavorable conditions dashing efforts to breed the endangered species.

As African elephants are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list of endangered animals, importing them is not realistic, increasing the likelihood that once the current zoo residents die, the Japanese public will not have the opportunity to see the species again in the country.

Poaching for their ivory and habitat loss due to deforestation is blamed for putting the animals' survival in danger.