Two older elephants moving to Audubon Zoo to spend their ‘golden years’ in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS — The Audubon Zoo’s $10 million, state-of-the-art elephant exhibit will welcome two new additions from the Buffalo Zoo.

Jothi, 36, and Surapa, 35, will be moving from Buffalo to New Orleans later this fall.

One of the driving factors in the decision to relocate the Asian elephants is the Audubon Zoo’s new habitat, which was specifically designed to accommodate aging elephants.

Jothi and Surapa will join Panya, 54, and Jean, 45.

The Audubon Zoo exhibit features multiple pools, shade trees, a newly-built barn with heated and padded floors and an interpretative center offering multiple guest vantage points and education opportunities.

“We designed the state-of-the-art elephant barn at Audubon Zoo with older animals in mind,” said Audubon Zoo General Curator Joel Hamilton. “Our pair of Asian elephants, Panya and Jean, have been enjoying the modern features that help our animal care team manage their long-term health. Audubon Zoo’s spacious elephant habitat will ensure that Panya, Jean, Jothi, and Surapa have plenty of room to exercise in their golden years and enjoy long and enriched lives.”

The Buffalo Zoo Board of Directors voted unanimously to relocate the elephants based on the recommendations of a task force that examined all options and assessed the present and future needs of the elephants.