Jana was born at the Groote Schuur Zoo in Cape Town, South Africa in 1980. As a young calf of almost two years old, Jana was acquired by the International Animal Exchange and was transferred to the Louisville Zoo in Louisville, Kentucky. Jana was relocated to Zoo Knoxville in East Tennessee in 1998, where she lived with herd mates Tonka (African male) and Edie (African female).  

Zoo Knoxville made the decision to transfer Jana, Edie, and Tonka as part of their commitment to the elephants' lifetime care and to ensure their health and social needs would be met through the later stages of their lives. 

On May 1, 2023, Jana became the 31st resident of The Elephant Sanctuary. She resided with African elephant Nosey at Asia Barn and Habitat. Jana spent her time utilizing the many wallows in her habitat and explores the vast woods to browse, knocking down small hardwood trees along her way, a normal and expected behavior for African savanna elephants!

Jana was a large female, weighing 10,000 pounds and standing nine feet tall. She was known to be a dominant elephant, often displaying behaviors like flaring her ears and reaching high with her trunk to communicate her size to others. Jana was easy to identify by her short tail and divot in her left ear. In addition, Jana had a stiff right leg caused by an injury in 2010 by another elephant.

Jana was an eager participant in her own health care, often showing enthusiasm for training, especially when sweet potatoes, apples, cantaloupes, and watermelons were involved. She readily chose to participate and interact with her Care Staff. She could often be seen on our live streaming EleCams exploring the wood lines of her habitat and swimming in the pond.

In the weeks leading up to her passing, Jana's declining health and reduced mobility led to multiple falls, severely impacting her quality of life. Due to the irreversible progression of these health issues, her inability to stand on her own, and the escalating pain she experienced, the difficult decision was made, and Jana was humanely euthanized on October 20, 2023. Nosey was observed being “supportive” toward Jana during her final days, standing quietly by her side and offering gentle touches. When Jana passed away, Nosey remained close and was provided access to Jana until her burial.


About Jana




South Africa


May 1, 2023


Asia Habitat



Favorite Food



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