Auckland Zoo confirm details of new home for loved Asian elephants Anjalee, Burma

Last year, Auckland Zoo made the “heartbreaking decision” to rehome its two female elephants to an overseas zoo – today they’ve revealed where the much loved pair will go.

In a message to Kiwis and Auckland Zoo customers, Auckland Zoo confirmed they have found the Asian elephants Anjalee and Burma “excellent new homes”.

The Zoo explained that they could not build a sustainable family herd for the pair in Auckland.

“We’ve confirmed excellent new homes for our Asian elephants – Anjalee and Burma, who’ll be moving later this year,” they said in a statement.

“As many of you will know, last year we announced our difficult decision to transition our elephant girls to new homes, when it became clear that our ambition to build a sustainable family herd for them in Auckland could no longer be realised.

“Since then, we’ve been working hard with our Australian colleagues to ensure the different needs of both our elephants are met.”

Anjalee and Burma will be heading to different zoos to ensure their individual needs are met.

“We’re pleased to share that our elephant specialists and vets have chosen incredible homes for Anjalee and Burma based on their individual needs.

“Anjalee will join the breeding herd at Taronga Western Plains Zoo [Dubbo, Australia], and Burma will head to Australia Zoo [Sunshine Coast, Queensland] to join their all-female herd.”

Auckland Zoo goes on to explain that despite being friends, Anjalee and Burma are not maternal to one another.

Elephant team leader Andrew Coers says their personalities and upbringings from different areas of the world mean they’d be better suited to individual zoos appropriate to them.

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“Some people may wonder why Anjalee and Burma are not going to live together. Our elephant team leader Andrew Coers explains that, although they have a friendship and enjoy each other’s company, they don’t share a maternal bond like a mother and daughter would, and often like their own space as well.

“Anjalee was born at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka and because of her upbringing she is very independent.

“We know this will put her in great stead to join the herd at Taronga Western Plains Zoo where she will be integrated into a family herd of two cows and a calf, a breeding bull and two young bulls – giving her the very best opportunity to breed, which is important to her long-term reproductive health and wellbeing.

“Burma has had a very different upbringing and has lived at Auckland Zoo for 30 years. Our elephant team has always played an important role in her health and wellbeing.

“The programme at Australia Zoo is very similar to ours, and some of the staff there have worked with Burma in the past, so that familiarity will greatly benefit her. She’ll join the herd of four females at Australia Zoo, where she will have the opportunity to play her natural role of ‘aunty’ to the herd’s younger females.”

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