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Buffalo Zoo: Elephants relocating to Audubon Zoo

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Thu, Aug 16th 2018 12:15 pm
Jothi and Surapa (Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo)
Jothi and Surapa (Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo)
Because the current and future welfare of the animals is the Buffalo Zoo's top priority, institution officials said Tuesday, the Buffalo Zoo announced its two Asian elephants (Jothi, age 36, and Surapa, age 35) will move to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. The relocation is slated to take place later this fall.
"The staff at the Buffalo Zoo continually evaluate the short and long-term needs of all our animals. In the case of our elephants, this assessment resulted in the decision to relocate them to the Audubon Zoo," the Buffalo Zoo stated in a press release.
The Buffalo Zoo board of directors voted unanimously to relocate the elephants based on the 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 (54) and Jean (45) in a $10 million, 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. Officials said it is 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."
"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," Buffalo Zoo President Emeritus Dr. Donna Fernandes said.
The Buffalo Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the third-oldest zoo in the country. To find out more about the Buffalo Zoo, visit www.buffalozoo.org.
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through live animal exhibits, education programs and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park.
Ron Forman is president and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.

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