Aging Buffalo Zoo Elephants Relocating to New Orleans

Jothi & Surapa Have Been in Buffalo Since 1987

August 14, 2018 - 10:34 am
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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Buffalo Zoo has announced that its two Asian elephants will be moving to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, La.  The relocation is expected to take place later this Fall.

Zoo officials says an evaluation of the short and long term needs of the animals resulted in the decision to relocate them. 

The Buffalo Zoo Board of Directors voted unanimously to relocate elephants Jothi (age 36) and Surapa (age 35) based on recommendations of a task force that examined all options and assessed the present and future needs of the elephants.

“This decision demonstrates that the Buffalo Zoo will always do what is best and right for all of the animals in our care. Using our soon-to-be-released strategic plan that includes the introduction of new exhibits, together we are forging a bold future for the Buffalo Zoo,” said Jonathan Dandes, Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Directors.

The Buffalo Zoo and the Audubon Zoo are both accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Jothi and Surapa will join Panya (age 54) and Jean (age 45) in a 10 million dollar, newly renovated, state-of-the-art exhibit designed to address the needs of aging elephants specifically.

“This is precisely the type of strategy and action we expect from our members. Long-term and whole life planning is paramount, and we support the decision, said Dr. Jeff Wyatt, incoming Chairperson of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Accreditation Commission.

The Audubon Zoo exhibit features multiple pools, shade trees, a newly-built barn with heated and padded floors and an interpretative center offering multiple guest vantage points and education opportunities. It is ideally suited to meet the specialized and unique veterinary needs of elephants.

“We designed the state-of-the-art elephant barn at Audubon Zoo with older animals in mind,” said Audubon Zoo General Curator Joel Hamilton. “Our pair of Asian elephants, Panya and Jean, have been enjoying the modern features that help our animal care team manage their long-term health. Audubon Zoo’s spacious elephant habitat will ensure that Panya, Jean, Jothi, and Surapa have plenty of room to exercise in their golden years and enjoy long and enriched lives.”

Former Zoo President Donna Fernandes agrees with the decision. “I am pleased that Zoo management took the time to explore all of the options for the Buffalo Zoo’s elephants and applaud their decision to move them to the new state-of-the-art facility at the Audubon Zoo,” said President Emeritus Dr. Donna Fernandes.

The Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the country.  It was founded in 1875.

 

 

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