Hogle Zoo elephants arrive safely at new home in Kansas City, Missouri

Oct 19, 2023, 11:35 AM | Updated: 12:07 pm

African elephant Zuri at UHZ tah's Hogle Zoo and Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium)...

African elephant Zuri at UHZ tah's Hogle Zoo and Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Hogle Zoo’s African elephants have safely arrived at their new home at the Kansas City Zoo & Aquarium in Missouri.

The Hogle Zoo announced the elephants would be leaving to join a bigger herd and give them opportunities to mate with other elephants.

Elephants leaving Utah’s Hogle Zoo after more than 100 years of care

Utah’s elephants, Christie, 37, and Zuri, 14, will be joining a multigenerational herd of seven other African elephants that includes Lady, a 55-year-old female, Lois a 45-year-old female, Lea a 45-year-old female, Megan, a 45-year-old female, Tattoo, a 45-year-old female, Zoe, a 39-year-old female, and Tamani, an 18-year-old male.

“Utah’s Hogle Zoo believes we have selected an accredited partner who meets all the goals we sought for Christie and Zuri, including excellence in animal care, a multigenerational herd, and the opportunity for offspring,” Doug Lund, Utah’s Hogle Zoo president and CEO said. “Working with the team over these many planning months has formed a bond that will continue our collaboration with African elephants and updates on Christie and Zuri’s progress.”

The joint herd will live together on over three acres of outdoor land including a pool, mud hole, two waterfalls, shade structures, and a variety of items for elephants to explore, interact, and train. The KCZoo has cared for African elephants since the 1920s and now has eight full-time elephant care staff. The senior keeper staff have been getting to know Christie and Zuri through visits to Utah this summer.

A release from the Hogle Zoo states, “Zookeeper and vet staff from both zoos traveled with the elephant pair. In an unprecedented act of cooperation for Christie and Zuri’s comfortable transition, two of Utah’s Hogle Zoo elephant keepers will stay at the KCZoo for three to six months.”

“We are thrilled to welcome these new elephants to Kansas City. I am proud of the time and resources that have been put into this move to ensure the highest level of animal care and well-being,” Sean Putney, KCZoo executive director & CEO, said. “This is really what our network of AZA-accredited zoos is all about, working together for the benefit of wildlife, and I have never seen a better example of that than during this process.”

Christie and Zuri are currently undergoing a quarantine period to give them time to acclimate to their new home and to protect all the elephants’ health. They will be introduced to the herd when the animal care teams feel it’s appropriate. Although from the time of arrival, the current herd and new elephants will be able to see, hear, and smell each other.

“Just as when we began with Princess Alice the elephant, Utah’s Hogle Zoo‘s remains committed to creat[ing] connections between people and animals that inspire action to save elephants and other endangered species, like our rhinos, gorillas, polar bears, and amur leopards,” Lund said. “Each new animal we have at the zoo creates a new educational opportunity and awareness of how we can help their species. Decisions regarding what species the zoo will have in the future will be announced soon, and are being guided by what is best for animal wellbeing, guest experience, and the most effective way to contribute to saving wildlife.”

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Hogle Zoo elephants arrive safely at new home in Kansas City, Missouri