The latest edition to Auckland Zoo is the welcomed arrival of Anjalee the elephant!! Anjalee is the newest arrival to the zoo who’s journey has taken nearly six years. Her arrival comes after Auckland Zoo’s other Asain elephant Burma’s companion Kashin passed away in 2009.
Elephants are highly social creatures so the Zoo staff are relieved that Anjalee has arrived to keep Burma company and hopefully establish a more permanent herd of elephants. The name Anjalee means ‘gracious gift’ was no easy task which involved hundreds of people working across three countries. It took two Hercules planes and special export papers just so she could be transported without violating the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Anjalee was born in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka and grew up with her mother before being ‘outsted’ form the social group. Her parents were brought to the orphanage as victims of Sri Lanka’s human-elephant conflict (HEC). Although 22% of Sri Lanka is elephant protected, the small size of the country mean they have a bad reputation with farmers, who are prone to wiping out banana crops. On average 150 elephants and 60 humans die each year as a result of the conflict.
Auckland Zoo ttys to address the HEC through its Conservation Fund. Visitors to the zoo help raise $1.4 million each year (through a portion of their ticket price) which goes to conservation projects in more than 22 locations both here and abroad.