After 34 years at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Shaunzi has a new home.
The 46-year old Asian elephant has been relocated to the Los Angeles Zoo. She moved in Tuesday.
“We didn’t hesitate when asked by Fresno Chaffee Zoo to provide a home for Shaunzi,” says the zoo’s director, John Lewis. “This is an Asian elephant who recently lost her lifetime companion and we are able to provide her with socialization, excellent care and a state-of-the-art facility where she can live out the rest of her years.”
Kara, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s other Asian elephant, died earlier this month after suffering from chronic osteoarthritis. She was 40.
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Chaffee Zoo had been looking to move both elephants for several years now, based on recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that elephants should be kept in groups of at least three or more. The Los Angeles Zoo currently houses three Asian elephants, two females and one male, in a 6.56-acre exhibit that opened in 2010. The zoo is also properly equipped to care for the aged Shaunzi, who at 46, is considered geriatric.
For now, Shaunzi in quarantine, as is procedure. Patrons should see her in the exhibit after 30 days.
“Sometimes, the best part of a relationship is found at the end, rather than the beginning,” said Amber Talley, the Chaffee Zoo lead elephant care staff member.
“I will miss her playfulness and the casual way she crossed her back legs when waiting for dinner. I will miss getting to see her every day and being a part of her world.”
The move means the end of Asian elephants at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, though there are three elephants in the African Adventure exhibit that opened in 2015. The Asian elephant exhibit will eventually be converted to house a one-horned rhino.