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They’re here! Seattle elephants finally arrive at Oklahoma City Zoo

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OKLAHOMA CITY - They have finally arrived!

Two Asian elephants from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Bamboo and Chai, safely stepped onto Oklahoma City soil Wednesday, the Oklahoma City Zoo announced.

“We are excited to have these two new members join our family,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, OKC Zoo executive director/CEO. “This journey has always been about the best care possible for Bamboo and Chai. We’ve witnessed an incredible collaboration of three Association of Zoo and Aquarium-accredited zoos, which kept the well-being of Bamboo and Chai at the forefront of their transition. We are grateful to the Oklahoma City community for the outpouring of support and well wishes on behalf of the elephants, to the San Diego Zoo for temporarily accommodating Bamboo and Chai, and to the Woodland Park Zoo team who have worked tirelessly with high standards of professionalism.”

The two elephants originally departed the Seattle zoo in mid April, but were detoured to San Diego after they encountered some stormy weather.

Zoo officials say the elephants handled the 25-30 hour trip to Oklahoma City very well.

“We’re pleased to report that Bamboo and Chai remained bright, alert, and in good condition throughout the road trip,” said Martin Ramirez, Woodland Park Zoo’s mammal curator who was among elephant care staff accompanying the caravan. “During the welfare check stops, they showed normal behavior, interacted positively with our staff and ate hay, pellets and hand-fed fruit treats.”

“Both Bamboo and Chai looked great this morning. They immediately interacted with the Woodland Park Zoo staff, ate snacks including watermelon, cantaloupe, raisins and hay, enjoyed sand baths and explored their surroundings," Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino, the Oklahoma City Zoo Director of Veterinary Services, said.

Bamboo and Chai will be in quarantine for 30 days, which is a standard procedure for new animal arrivals.

After the quarantine period, they will join a multi-generational herd composed of a 47-year-old male, Rex, and two young adult females, Asha (20) and sister Chandra (18), and Asha’s daughters, Malee (4) and Achara (5 months).

The recent additions bring the Oklahoma City Zoo's Aisan elephant herd to seven.

Bamboo, 48, and Chai, 36, lived at Woodland Park Zoo for many years, according to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The Seattle zoo recently phased out their elephant program and started looking for a new home for their beloved elephants.

After months of evaluating potential homes, WPZ officials selected the OKC Zoo as the best facility for the well-being and overall care of the elephants.

Read more about the controversial elephant transfer here.


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