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.
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.
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 (Zahara in 2006 and Nyah in 2012). 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.
Kalina was lively, excited, and loved to meet new people.
Kalina loved to splash and play in the water. She was the younger sister of Kedar and Kubwa's third calf.
Gets along with his "aunties." He is very easygoing.
Kedar was named in a contest with the Zoo, the Indianapolis Star and WTHR-TV.
First African Elephant to ever become pregnant and give birth from artificial insemination.
Her first calf was a female named Amali born in 2000. Since then, she has successfully given birth to two more elephant calves (Kedar in 2005 and Kalina in 2011) through artificial insemination. Kubwa has been at the Indianapolis Zoo since 1978.
Nyah was very curious; she loved sticking close to her big sister, Zahara, and learning what it meant to be an elephant. Distinguishing characteristics: Smallest elephant in the herd.
Nyah was the youngest member of the elephant herd and was Ivory's third calf. Her name meant “purpose” in Swahili.
Sophi is the largest member and leader of the herd. She can be dramatic and playful at times; majestic.
Sophi is the matriarch of our elephant herd. She is the biggest and one of the oldest animals we have at our Zoo.
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.
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.
Zahara is active and alert.
Zahara is very smart and very active. She loves to swim! Zahara was named in a contest with the Zoo, the Indianapolis Star and WTHR-TV.
Look no further. Connect with our amazing animals and learn about the wild places they come from.
Dr. Rob Shumaker, Indianapolis Zoo President, serves on the IEF board of directors. In 2011, the IEF provided a total of $230,000 in support for elephant conservation.
Projects related to African elephant conservation include programs that combat poaching and protect wild populations throughout Africa, dissemination of research results utilized by conservation policy decision makers and education programming for various audiences including those who live in elephant range countries. Another valuable program funded by IEF is the “My Elephant Neighbor” program in West Africa. Through this program, thousands of children and their teachers have been able to learn about local elephants. Not all African families are aware of elephant conservation needs, and this program utilizes the powerful voice of children to carry that message home to their parents.
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.
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:
Riders will enjoy a 10-minute narrated journey and learn about our Plains animals, greenhouse, gardens, the Zoo’s
15,000-square-foot veterinary hospital, maintenance and commissary departments and other behind-the-scenes operations necessary to run the Zoo. Available mid-March through December, riders will also learn about the Zoo’s animal conservation mission.
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!Learn More
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
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.