San Antonio Zoo Adds Third Asian Elephant to Herd
Two months after celebrating the arrival of a new Asian elephant, today the San Antonio Zoo® celebrated the arrival of a third Asian elephant to the zoo’s growing herd. Thanks to the zoo’s partnership with Feld Entertainment’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, 47-year-old “Karen” will now call the zoo home.
Karen was a long-time companion to “Nicole,” a 40-year-old Asian elephant also on loan, who was welcomed to the zoo in June. Karen and Nicole were transitioned to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation® along with all of the other elephants from Ringling Bros. touring circus productions earlier this year. Karen’s arrival at the zoo is the result of a year-long effort to find suitable companions for “Lucky”, the beloved 56-year-old Asian elephant who has called the zoo home since she was a calf.
“We were hopeful at the time that we brought Nicole to the zoo that we could add Karen as well, largely because of their established relationship,” said Tim Morrow, the zoo’s Executive Director and CEO. “We brought Nicole first so we could introduce them to Lucky one at a time. We believed this was the best course of action for Lucky and would ultimately result in the most positive socialization result for all three ‘girls’.”
Morrow says the bonding between Lucky and Nicole has exceeded the expectations, paving the way to introduce Lucky to Karen, and reunite Karen with her long-time friend.
“Lucky and Nicole have enjoyed the exploring the recent expansion and improvements to the elephant habitat, including the expanded pool with beach entry, new grass, sand and added shade,” said Morrow. “We are confident Karen will enjoy her new herd and home as well.”
Karen is described by her trainers as being a quick learner and gets along well with other elephants. Zoo officials are optimistic that she will do well with Lucky, whose unique, quirky personality made it imperative that the right elephant companions be carefully selected to join her.
“We are excited to expand our work with the San Antonio Zoo so that more people can see these magnificent elephants up-close and in person,” said Dr. Wendy Kiso, Director of Conservation & Research at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. “It’s this kind of relationship with zoos and other conservation organizations that will help us achieve our mutual goal of more Asian elephants in North America.”
The Asian elephant exhibit exceeds the space and design standards for multiple elephants as established by both of its accrediting organizations, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America.
“Karen’s arrival further cements our commitment to elephant conservation,” said Morrow. “Lucky has inspired us to focus on Asian elephants moving forward and looking toward the future. We are thankful to Feld Entertainment for partnering with us to provide Lucky with a new herd. We have the unique opportunity and, we believe the obligation, to share these magnificent animals with the public, and to educate people about the Asian elephant’s challenges in the wild, as we continue our work to save them—and other species—from extinction.”