Zoo News

Aug 14, 2018


Buffalo, New York — Because the current and future welfare of the animals is the Zoo’s top priority, the Buffalo Zoo announced today that its two Asian elephants Jothi (age 36) and Surapa (age 35) will be moving to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, La. The relocation is slated to take place later this fall.

The staff at the Buffalo Zoo continually evaluate the short and long-term needs of all our animals. In the case of our elephants, this assessment resulted in the decision to relocate them to the Audubon Zoo.

The Buffalo Zoo Board of Directors voted unanimously to relocate the elephants based on the recommendations of a task force that examined all options and assessed the present and future needs of the elephants.

“This decision demonstrates that the Buffalo Zoo will always do what is best and right for all of the animals in our care. Using our soon-to-be-released strategic plan that includes the introduction of new exhibits, together we are forging a bold future for the Buffalo Zoo,” said Jonathan Dandes, Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Directors.

The Buffalo Zoo and the Audubon Zoo are both accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Jothi and Surapa will join Panya (54) and Jean (45) in a 10 million dollar, newly renovated, state-of-the-art exhibit designed to address the needs of aging elephants specifically.

“This is precisely the type of strategy and action we expect from our members. Long-term and whole life planning is paramount, and we support the decision, said Dr. Jeff Wyatt, incoming Chairperson of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Commission.

The Audubon Zoo exhibit features multiple pools, shade trees, a newly-built barn with heated and padded floors and an interpretative center offering multiple guest vantage points and education opportunities. It is ideally suited to meet the specialized and unique veterinary needs of elephants.

“We designed the state-of-the-art elephant barn at Audubon Zoo with older animals in mind,” said Audubon Zoo General Curator Joel Hamilton. “Our pair of Asian elephants, Panya and Jean, have been enjoying the modern features that help our animal care team manage their long-term health. Audubon Zoo’s spacious elephant habitat will ensure that Panya, Jean, Jothi, and Surapa have plenty of room to exercise in their golden years and enjoy long and enriched lives.”

“I am pleased that Zoo management took the time to explore all of the options for the Buffalo Zoo’s elephants and applaud their decision to move them to the new state-of-the-art facility at the Audubon Zoo,” said President Emeritus Dr. Donna Fernandes.  The Buffalo Zoo is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, seven days a week, 363 days a year. To find out more about the Buffalo Zoo visit our website at buffalozoo.org

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