SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo announced Friday that it sent two male African elephants to the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama as part of a global elephant breeding and conservation initiative.
The two young bull elephants were born at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and are half-brothers, sharing the same father. Ingadze, born in 2009, and Lutsandvo, born in 2010, are currently getting acclimated to the Birmingham Zoo away from the zoo’s public habitat, but zoo officials expect them to gel with the elephant herd quickly.
“(Lutsandvo and Ingadze) are at the perfect age to replicate the important life stage of bachelorhood,” said Stephanie Braccini Slade, the zoo’s vice president of living collections. “It’s naturally time for them to leave their maternal group and join a bachelor herd, watching and learning from a larger and older bull.”
Both zoos are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and are participants in the association’s Species Survival Plan programs. According to the Birmingham Zoo, the transfer of the two elephants was made at the behest of the African Elephant Species Survival Plan.
“Our vision to conserve wildlife and wild places is what fuels our dedication to preserving endangered and vulnerable species,” Birmingham Zoo President and CEO Chris Pfefferkorn said. “We take pride in being a part of the global elephant conservation effort by AZA accredited zoos to ensure these magnificent animals will survive into the future.”
The two elephants are expected to join the rest of the zoo’s elephants in July once they’re more comfortable with their surroundings. According to the San Diego Zoo, the transfer has allowed the elephant herd at the Safari Park to focus more on the remaining calves.
“Although we will miss these two teenagers, we know it is time for them to move away from their maternal herd and join a bachelor group — much as they would in their native habitat,” said Steve Metzler, the Safari Park’s curator of mammals. “Since these young boys have left, we have noticed that the rest of the herd has settled into a peaceful routine focused more on the younger calves in their care.”