Seattle elephants back on their journey to Oklahoma City Zoo

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Two Asian elephants from Seattle are on their way to Oklahoma City after severe weather caused them to take a detour to the San Diego Zoo.

“We are so grateful to San Diego Zoo for providing a comfortable rest stop for Chai and Bamboo while we worked with our colleagues and the animal transport team to line up logistics for the final leg of the journey,” said Dr. Deborah Jensen, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO.

The elephants are accompanied by a team of elephant care staff as they make their way to the Oklahoma City Zoo.

The drive is expected to take 25-30 hours, allowing for stops approximately every three hours to check the elephants’ comfort and well-being.

Chai and Bamboo 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).

“We are excited to have these two new members join our family,” said Dwight Lawson, Ph.D., OKC Zoo executive director/CEO. “This journey has always been about the best care possible for Chai and Bamboo. We’ve witnessed an incredible collaboration of three Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos, which kept the well-being of Chai and Bamboo at the forefront of their transition.”

Chai and Bamboo will enter a standard quarantine for 30 days upon their arrival.

Oklahoma City Zoo has expertise in integrating herds and will follow a plan that socializes Chai and Bamboo with the herd in incremental steps, following the cues of the animals.

“Female Asian elephants naturally live in multi-generational herds in the wild,” explained Jensen. “It’ll take some time for Chai and Bamboo to fully settle in, but once they do, the family of elephants at Oklahoma City Zoo will offer an enriching social life for them.”

Read more about the controversial transfer here.


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