November 16, 2015
BIG NEWS: Sukari and Rosie have arrived!
Sukari, a 31-year old female African elephant, arrived at The Sanctuary to begin her life of retirement on Wednesday, Nov 4th. Rosie, a 44-year old African elephant, followed on Thursday, Nov 5th. Both are retired from Nashville Zoo. At Sanctuary, they were reunited with Hadari with whom they shared exhibit space at the zoo. Hadari retired to Sanctuary in late September.
Sukari's arrival on Nov 4th was met with much excitement from Sanctuary staff at the Africa Barn and Habitat. As the doors to her transport trailer were opened and the safety barriers removed, Sukari backed out of the trailer and then entered the African barn where welcoming snacks of bamboo, bananas, and apples were waiting.
Sukari exploring Sanctuary
Rosie’s first day
Once Rosie was settled in, the doors were open and Rosie entered the yard where she and Sukari were reunited.
Rosie and Sukari reunited in Sanctuary
The two touched trunks, bellowed, and walked side by side around the Annex Yard while Hadari and Care Staff watched from a distance.
Sukari and Rosie were both captured from the wild in Africa as calves and imported to the United States. Rosie spent her early years in captivity on exhibit at various facilities in Florida before moving to the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, MS where she spent the next 33 years. She moved to the Nashville Zoo in 2010. After Sukari was captured as a 1-year old calf in Africa, she was imported to the Reston Animal Park in Vienna, VA. Sukari was on exhibit there until 1999 when she moved to the Nashville Zoo.
After only a moment's hesitation, Tange walked up to the fence within trunks reach of her new habitat mates and allowed them to touch her ears, trunk, and tusks. This was repeated numerous times throughout the day.
After Tange "met" Sukari over the fence separating their areas of the habitat, Rosie walked over and Sukari relinquished her spot at the fence to her companion. To the delight of watching Care Staff, Tange remained calm and confident at the fence allowing a second "new" elephant to inspect her and touch her face.
Caregiver Kristy was observing these interactions and shared that "It was a very emotional time for caregiver staff to watch Tange reach out to the new elephants and to see their quiet response. There were lots of low rumbles all around.”
The following day, Flora arrived at the barn to introduce herself. In typical Flora fashion, she walked straight up to the fence with her head high and ears out. She and Sukari sparred a bit over the top of the fence, then Flora stepped back and walked away.
Hadari can be seen going deeper into the wooded areas of the South Yard habitat. She’s certainly been making more use of the habitat on her daily explorations. She’s even lying down when all is still and quiet. Care Staff have observed Hadari venturing closer to the fence line, nearer to Sukari and Rosie. These interactions are expected to continue as Hadari, Rosie, and Sukari adjust to life at Sanctuary. Sanctuary staff will work to create opportunities for socialization among these three and with Sanctuary's other African elephants -Tange and Flora. Keep up to date at www.elephants.com.