Onondaga County Parks

Zoo Acquires New Elephant, Says Farewell to Another

11/20/2012 -

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of Doc, a male elephant who came to the zoo from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation®. The 15-year-old bull arrived in Syracuse on November 15.

Doc was born on May 5, 1997 to parents, Alana and Charlie, and named after a beloved member of the veterinary team. When he was younger, Doc spent two years traveling with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus and more recently was one of several male elephants residing at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. Doc has already sired one calf, Barack.

Kenneth Feld, Chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment and founder of the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation said, “Ringling Bros. has taken a leadership role in preserving Asian elephants through our elephant breeding program and the important work we do at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. We are pleased to work with accredited zoos like the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in an effort to help sustain the North American elephant population.”

Asian elephants are intelligent and extremely social animals. They are also endangered. There are fewer Asian elephants in the wild (~35,000) than there are seats in the Carrier Dome (49,250); the management and breeding of Asian elephants under human care is essential to their survival. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has been in cooperation with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) Asian elephant Species Survival Plan since 1981.

Ted Fox, director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, said, “We appreciate this opportunity to partner with Ringling Bros., which demonstrates our commitment to our elephant program and the long-term survival of the species.”

Doc will not be on full public display until he has acclimated to his new surroundings. Visitors to the zoo may be able to see him inside the Pachyderm Pavilion or in an outdoor holding yard prior to his debut in Asian Elephant Preserve.

In welcoming Doc to Syracuse, the zoo said farewell to Indy, the zoo’s long-time resident bull. He departed the zoo on November 16 and now resides at the AZA accredited Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Mo.

Indy was born in Thailand in 1972 and came to Syracuse in 1985. For the past 27 years, Indy served as the zoo’s only breeding male. He sired seven calves, including Tundi, who is now one of Europe’s most important bull elephants.

“It’s always difficult for us to say goodbye to our animals, especially those who have lived with us for an extended period of time,” said Fox. “Based on the recommendations of AZA’s elephant Taxon Advisory Group and because he is related to many of the females in our herd, it made sense that we find a new home for Indy where he could become part of an unrelated herd. We believe that he will continue to be a cornerstone for Asian elephants in North America and serve as an ambassador to help zoo visitors better understand these magnificent animals.”

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