Indianapolis Zoo features a mixed herd of African elephants. In
2012, the herd includes "senior" pachyderm
Sophi, adult females
Tombi, juvenile female
Zahara, and juvenile male
gave birth to her third calf, a female named
Kalina, in July 2011.
Ivory gave birth to her third calf, a female named
Nyah, in 2012. Teenage
male Ajani, the second
African elephant in the world to be successfully conceived and
born through artificial insemination, left home in early 2011 to
become part of a bachelor herd at the Birmingham Zoo. The
timing was excellent, since at ten, almost eleven, years old,
Ajani was just at the stage when the females would normally be
pushing him out of the herd and out on his own. Photo
of Kalina by Kerrie Best
Research in Indianapolis
In 1998, the Indianapolis Zoo was successful in introducing an alternative
reproductive technique for elephants. For the first time in the history of
the species, two of our adult female African elephants that were
artificially inseminated subsequently delivered healthy calves in 2000. Our
research subsequently led to the successful insemination of elephants
worldwide. Kubwa and Ivory made history again in 2005 and 2006 by becoming
the first and second African elephants in the world to successfully conceive
and give birth to a calf through artificial insemination for a second time,
and then again in 2011 and 2012 with the births of their third calves.
Our breeding program has been a collaborative effort with such colleagues as
Germany’s Berlin Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research and Dr.
Dennis Schmitt, veterinary reproductive specialist at Southwest Missouri
In the summer of 2002, the Indianapolis Zoo opened its new African Elephant
Preserve with a much larger barn and multiple yards to accommodate our
growing herd. The new facility includes space for additional cows (females)
as well as adult bulls (males) with plenty of room for training and
exercise. The Preserve features grass yards, two pools, a waterfall outside
and heated floors inside. This facility allows us to continue with our
breeding program and other important research. To observe our elephants on
exhibit, click here for
the elephant Web cam.
more about the world of elephants:
What is an Elephant?
Elephants & Humans
African vs. Asian Elephants
The Zoo's elephants also serve as wonderful ambassadors for their
species. Their charismatic qualities engage Zoo visitors, and summer time daily elephant shows are
among the visitors' favorite activities.
Photos by Carla Knapp, Gabi Moore and Kerrie Best