New Elephants: Jewel and Tina

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Jewel and Tina in their new home at the San Diego Zoo.

Tina puts a trunk up to check in with travel partner Jewel in their new home at the San Diego Zoo.

About 6 a.m. on Saturday, August 22, a large air-conditioned truck arrived at the back gate of the San Diego Zoo. Inside the truck were two Asian elephants, just arrived from a long journey from Texas. The two elephants, named Jewel and Tina, were removed from the care of a private owner by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on August 20.

APHIS, the agency that enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, chose the San Diego Zoo as the receiving facility for these elephants because the Zoo can provide the elephants with the care that best matches their particular needs. The newly created Prebys Elephant Care Center is a state-of-the-art facility designed with the care of older pachyderms in mind. The elephant move occurred under the auspices of APHIS and was observed by San Diego Humane Society officials.

Once the truck arrived at the Zoo, it was opened, and the elephants were invited by animal care staff to come into their new home. It took a couple of hours for them to decide to take advantage of the offer, but finally both girls were in the Elephant Care Center together, munching on bananas, chirping, and checking each other with their trunks.

Jewel and Tina are not expected to be available for public viewing for the next few weeks as they acclimate and receive thorough health examinations. Zoo officials hope that the two will integrate well into the existing herd of seven elephants current housed in the new exhibit.

Christina Simmons is the public relations manager for the San Diego Zoo.

Note: We hope to have more information on Tina and Jewel by the end of this week. We now have video of their first veterinary exam at the Zoo.