African Elephant
African Elephant
ABout African Elephant

Humongous, intelligent and majestic! Elephants are one of the world’s most recognizable animals simply because of their size and their long, beautiful and useful trunks.

Female elephants live in herds with their calves while male elephants tend to roam on their own or in a bachelor herd. Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals — 22 months. The Indianapolis Zoo is well-known throughout the world for its cutting-edge elephant reproduction research. The first and second African elephants in the world to be conceived and successfully born through artificial insemination were at the Zoo.

Who’s your Tembo Camp connection? Just like us, elephants each have individual traits that set them apart. Take the quiz and find out!

Plains Stamp
average size
Up to 13 feet tall,
14,000 pounds
Native region
Sub-Saharan Africa
Eating habits
All manner of vegetation
Conservation Status
Distinguishing characteristics

Ivory is tall and slender with long tusks. She also has a furry belly. Typically, you'll see Ivory sharing the elephant yard with her daughter, Zahara, and sometimes Sophi as well.

Fun Facts

Ivory has been at the Indianapolis Zoo since 1984. On Aug. 4, 2000, Ivory became the second African elephant in the world to give birth to a calf conceived by artificial insemination. That calf was named Ajani. Since then, she has conceived and given birth by artificial insemination two more times. Ivory is an expert at stripping bark from logs her keepers provide for her and she has passed on these techniques to her daughter Zahara.

Personality Traits

Gets along with his "aunties." He is very easygoing.

Fun Facts

Kedar was born through artificial insemination. Kubwa is his mom. He was named in a contest with the Zoo, the Indianapolis Star and WTHR-TV.

Personality Traits

First African Elephant to ever become pregnant and give birth from artificial insemination.

Fun Facts

Her first calf was a female named Amali born in 2000. Since then, she has successfully given birth to two more elephant calves through artificial insemination. Kubwa has been at the Indianapolis Zoo since 1978.

Personality Traits

Tombi has a slender body with a square and narrow head; her even tusks curve inward. Less social than other members of the herd; she is a very calm and stable elephant for her keepers to work with.

Fun Facts

Tombi is not blood related to any elephant in the herd, but she acts as an aunt to many of our elephant calves. Guests often get the chance to meet Tombi up close during behind-the-scenes demonstrations, like animal art adventures.

Personality Traits

Zahara is active, playful and loves to swim. She's also very smart and alert.

Fun Facts

Born to mom Ivory through artificial insemination, Zahara was named in a contest with the Zoo, the Indianapolis Star and WTHR-TV.

Where are they at the Zoo?
The African Elephants are located in the Plains Exhibit.
View Zoo Map View Plains
Come see for yourself.

Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.

You can make a difference.

You can help by taking the 96 Elephants pledge to show your support for measures aimed at combating the global ivory trade. As well, only purchase products made from sustainable alternatives to ivory.

For Dr. Charles Foley, Director of the Tarangire Elephant Project, few countries in the world can match Tanzania for its diversity of wildlife. That's a key reason he and his wife, Lara, manager of the Project, have spent the last 25 years living and conducting research in the Tarangire ecosystem.

Since 2007, the Indianapolis Zoo has provided annual support for the Tarangire Elephant Project and the Foleys’ efforts
to conserve elephants and their habitat. Charles, Lara and their two young daughters follow the lives of more than
1,000 elephants within 32 family groups.

One of the Tarangire Elephant Project’s major purposes is to protect migration corridors and dispersal areas — areas
outside the national park where elephants move seasonally. These protected grasslands are a critical food source
for wildlife as well as for the local community’s livestock. Free access to these areas for all of the species
in the national park is essential for their continued conservation.

Despite poaching in other parts of Africa, Charles said the Tarangire elephants continue to thrive, with the local
population estimated at about 4,200.

In 2016, funds also supported the start of a new program — the Ruaha Katavi Corridor expansion.

With attention given to the vast areas of woodland stretching between Ruaha National Park and Katavi National Park,
the Foleys help ensure those populations are protected from both the pressures of poaching and habitat loss. With
the parks more than 130 miles apart, focused efforts influence what may be not only the longest elephant corridor
in East Africa, but one of the longest migration paths in the world.

All Conservation Efforts
Conservation Efforts for African Elephants

What Can you Do?

Everyone has the power to help save wild things and wild places. That power is your individual voice, your awareness and your actions. So in addition to visiting the Zoo and meeting our animal ambassadors, here are a few simple suggestions that will help save their counterparts in the wild:

  • Only purchase products made from sustainable alternatives to ivory.
Animal Art Adventures

As the world’s largest land mammal, elephants may seem cumbersome. But did you know their agile prehensile trunks also allow them to do some amazing work with an artist’s brush? An Elephant Art Adventure takes participants behind the scenes in the elephant barn, where they meet an elephant, learn about some of the things that make this elephant unique in our herd and walk away with their very own piece of elephant artwork!

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Animal Amigo
Sponsor an Elephant

The Animal Amigo program helps care for all of the animals at the Zoo by funding food, medical treatment, equipment, enrichment toys, and habitat improvement for the animals in our care. For a donation of $100 or more, you con sponsor an elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo. You will receive a plush, collector card, certificate and recognition on the Animal Amigo donor board!

Learn More