Jacksonville Zoo debuts African elephant

34-year-old elephant makes public debut Saturday

Photo: Susan Henken
Photo: Susan Henken

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thandi, a 34-year-old African elephant, made her public debut at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Saturday.

The elephant was brought to Jacksonville on November 13 from The National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Florida. She joins the zoo's other two elephants after a standard 30-day quarantine period where animal caretakers gave Thandi a clean bill of health.

Zoo officials say, she is exhibiting matriarchal traits and has developed into a leader when she is around the other elephants.

"With a new herd member, you have to let them show you when they are ready to be around the others," said mammal supervisor and elephant program manager, Corey Neatrour in a media release. "The elephants have approached each other in very positive ways, like using their trunks to touch each other's faces."

African elephants can stand between 7- and 12-feet tall and weigh anywhere from 7,000 to 12,000 lbs. The zoo reports, Thandi stands ten feet tall and weighs 8,400 pounds.