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Home Sweet Home!

Hi everyone! My name is Caleb, and I am the newest member of the Elephant Care Team. Today, I am super-excited to tell you about how the African elephants Kelly and Tara, along with our team, have been spending our time adjusting to our brand-new home in the Zambezi Elephant Center while finishing touches are being completed in the outdoor environments!

On June 16, Kelly and Tara were rock stars as they made their grand crossing from their former habitat into their brand-new habitat. From there, the Elephant Care Team welcomed them into their brand-new home, the Zambezi Elephant Center, where we have been acclimating to our new space and anxiously waiting to be seen by Zoo guests again!

Remember the last time you moved into a new place? All the unpacking and adjusting to a new life in a new space? We are all going through a bit of that right now, but Kelly and Tara are doing great. Tara is oozing confidence, and Kelly is enjoying her added space. The Zambezi Elephant Center is so much larger than the elephants’ former indoor area, and we all love it. We are excited to have so many new options when interacting with the elephants. The Zambezi Elephant Center, which you will be able to see from an indoor (air conditioned!) public viewing area, has seven large stalls (five of which are sand stalls). The sand is a more natural substrate that helps maintain healthy elephant feet. These large stalls were designed to encourage movement around the area when opened-up to each other, which we do regularly each day. In addition to more space, the elephants have even more access to each other and to the care team. While we do give Kelly and Tara their own spaces at times, they can always see each other. Additionally, due to the open-air feel of the Zambezi Elephant Center, we can interact with the elephants from any location we want. From daily rinses in the shower area, to regular positive reinforcement training and exercise sessions, the Elephant Care Team is loving this alone time with Kelly and Tara to bond and adjust to this new environment and a new routine together.

As construction finishes up, there’s just a few more weeks until Kelly and Tara get to explore all of their outdoor habitat areas, and as the next chapter in our elephant care program has begun, I am so excited to be a part of this incredible team during this incredibly exciting time! We are so excited for the opening of the African Savanna on August 8, and we hope you are too!

I look forward to seeing you all there soon!
Caleb U.
Keeper I, Elephants

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