Two Elephants Join the Herd

We are delighted to welcome two African elephants into the herd, named Suzy and Gitana.

The two females, aged 40 and 44, arrived on Wednesday 29 May and had travelled from Pairi Daiza Zoo, in Belgium, accompanied by their keepers. 

They have made the move to be companions for the two elephants that already reside here, 32-year-old female, Five and bull elephant, 23-year-old Coco.

Head Keeper of Elephants, Andy Plumb, said, “After nearly a year in planning, all of the elephant keeping team are delighted with the safe arrival of Suzy and Gitana, which has doubled our herd numbers overnight. The reaction of Coco and Five has been a joy to see, as forming friendships with other individuals is a very important part of their social life. We are very excited to see how the new herd develops.”

Since their arrival, Suzy and Gitana have had time to settle into their new home, consisting of outdoor pools, mud wallows, dust baths, indoor sand beds and enriching feeding areas.

As soon as they entered their new outdoor habitat on Friday, they could be seen exploring the area, throwing dust over themselves and enjoying the enriching smells and textures of the planting.

As a member of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), we adhere to the highest standards in the world when caring for elephants.

Veterinarian at Pairi Daiza, Alicia Quiévy, said, “We are saddened to say goodbye to our magnificent elephants, whom we have cherished for so many years and with whom we have shared so much love. We are confident that West Midlands Safari Park will take excellent care of them, with the development of their new facility being more suitable for these older females.”.

African elephants face an uncertain future, with wild populations declining, due to poaching and loss of habitat, therefore they are listed as ‘endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

We are partnered with and annually donate to the charity Tusk, which supports on the ground conservation through the Mali Elephant Project, which protects a unique population of 550 sub-desert elephants.

We hope that Suzy and Gitana’s arrival will help us to continue to educate guests about this amazing species and will inspire the next generation of conservationists.

The African elephants can be seen on the four-mile Safari Drive, from the Grasslands Viewpoint on the African Walking Trail and from the Elephant Lodges.