I’m really looking forward to this new section of Zoo Atlanta! I love all of the conservation programs they are involved in. The indoor Zambezi Elephant Center has the capacity to house up to seven elephants and likewise features elements planned with elephant well-being in mind, including sand under the elephants’ feet. New viewing opportunities will give guests the exciting chance to look inside the building to observe the elephants’ care.
Kelly and Tara, both 36 years old, arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 1986 and are closely bonded social companions. Over their more than 30 years in Atlanta, much has changed for their counterparts in the wild. Illegal trafficking for ivory and human-wildlife conflict represent significant threats for African elephants. In 2018, Zoo Atlanta announced a partnership with Conservation South Luangwa, a nonprofit organization based in Zambia, to protect elephants and other species impacted by these threats.
Conservation South Luangwa works to identify and prevent illegal wildlife trade using anti-poaching patrols, aerial surveillance and detection dogs trained to find ivory, animal skins, ammunition and firearms, and certain species killed for bushmeat. Conservation South Luangwa also has a strong focus on mitigating human-wildlife conflict by working directly with local people to safeguard their crops and livelihoods while engaging them as advocates for wildlife conservation. In addition to these efforts, the organization has de-snared hundreds of animals – including lions, African wild dogs and many others – that would otherwise have died as a result of injuries in poachers’ snares.
Tens of thousands of elephants are killed for the illegal ivory trade each year, and the U.S. remains one of the world’s largest importers of ivory. Zoo Atlanta is a partner of The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) 96 Elephants campaign, helping bring the campaign to Atlanta and Georgia in 2014.