Zoo News

Aug 15, 2018

FAQs about The Buffalo Zoo’s Elephant Announcement

What elephants reside at the Audubon Zoo?

Jothi (age 36) and Surapa (age 35) will join Jean (age 45) and Panya (age 54).

What are the key features of the elephant exhibit at the Audubon Zoo?

Watch a video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izDtyRqvIRQ

  • Newly designed and re-opened in April 2016
  • Designed specifically for geriatric and aging elephants
  • State-of-the-art elephant barn featuring heated floors and other modern features to better manage potential health issues as elephants age.
  • Outdoor exhibit features include several pools, enrichment tree, gentle inclines and shade trees.

Why was Audubon Zoo specifically interested in the elephants at the Buffalo Zoo?

One of the most critical factors in welcoming new elephants was their behavior and demeanor. The goal was to welcome elephants that are of a similar age and behavior to Jean and Panya so that the likelihood of integration was the highest.

What will Audubon Zoo do to make sure the elephants are welcomed to the Audubon Zoo and specifically the herd?

Audubon looks forward to the arrival of these new elephants.  Initially, they will be monitored by elephant care staff from both zoos as they settle into their new surroundings.  After a settling period and observations of their behavior, the process of introducing Jothi and Surapa to Jean and Panya will begin.  Even before those introductions begin, they will be able to see and smell each other while inside the barn.

Why are you making this move? Why now?

The elephants are relocating because it is the right thing to do to ensure their long-term needs are met from a behavioral, social and health standpoint.  If you have a family member approaching his or her golden years, you can understand the responsibility we have to thoughtfully plan for Jothi’s and Surapa’s future.

When will the move take place?

The move is slated for Fall 2018.

Why aren’t you moving them to an elephant sanctuary? Isn’t that the best place for them?

AZA-accredited facilities like the Audubon Zoo and the Buffalo Zoo provide the highest level of care for elephants and other animals.  In some cases, sanctuaries are an option, but in this instance relocation to the Audubon Zoo is the best course of action.

Are you moving them because the climate/winter is too cold in Buffalo?

No. Our staff works extremely hard to provide the best care for all of our animals no matter the temperature. Notably, there are many AZA-accredited zoos in colder climates that have excellent elephant facilities.

What about the one million dollar “I Love Elephants” campaign in 2008?

Improvements, renovations, and changes to exhibits over time is not uncommon and is a sign of a Zoo that has a strong care program for their animals. The 2008 campaign primarily funded infrastructure improvements and those changes will give us a leg-up in any new exhibits slated to be built.

Why not invest money into renovating their exhibit?

We thoroughly explored this option, but we need to realize immediate changes. A renovation would not provide increased indoor or outdoor space, both of which would be required to address the long-term needs of the elephants over the remainder of their lives. It would also stall or eliminate projects, renovations, and repairs at the Zoo that are already planned or in progress.

Why not expand the Zoo?

Expanding the Zoo would be an enormous undertaking. The time to expand would far exceed Jothi’s and Surapa’s life expectancy.

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