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​​We want you to join us on our journey and tell you all about Auckland Zoo's elephants. So make sure to keep checking back on this page for regular 'Ele News' and video updates.

12 august 2016

It's World Elephant Day! When you get to spend your days with beautiful Burma, it's not hard to see why zookeeper Joel is head over heels for elephants!​​


April 2016

Since joining our zoo family last year, elephant Anjalee has captured the hearts of everyone who has met her – including Burma!​

Thursday 25 February 2016

We've got something to trumpet about!

Auckland Zoo is delighted to confirm a second elephant from Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka will be joining its elephants Burma and Anjalee – already at the Zoo. 

Anjalee’s arrival last year, and Nandi’s upcoming move, completes the elephants coming to us from Pinnawala.

Auckland Zoo staff have been working with their counterparts at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and have identified young female Nandi as having the right temperament and disposition to be a great companion for Anjalee and Burma.

"We are very much looking forward to welcoming Nandi to be part of our elephant family, and to strengthening the long-standing close working relationship we already have with Sri Lanka to assist both captive and wild Asian elephants in their country," says Auckland Zoo director, Jonathan Wilcken.

All elephants at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage are unable to be released in to the wild.  The orphanage regularly has to provide homes and additional space for confiscated elephants that have been illegally captured from the wild, as well as elephants that are victims of the growing human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka. 

Asian elephants are endangered; their wild habitat is diminishing and wild elephant populations are increasingly coming into conflict with people with disastrous results. There are now believed to be less than 5000 Asian elephants remaining living in the wild in Sri Lanka.

For many years now, Auckland Zoo has been helping fund two of Sri Lanka's conservation programmes that are aimed at protecting the remaining elephant population in the country. The first of these projects is focused on schools' education and helping school children to understand the historical and cultural importance of elephants in Sri Lanka, and how there is a way for them to live in the future with the growing human population, in a sustainable way. 

The second project is a research project involving GPS satellite-tracking of wild elephant populations that is helping to provide a better understanding of their behaviour and migration patterns, and is therefore helping to avert further human-elephant conflict. 

Here in New Zealand, by attracting 700,000 visitors a year to Auckland Zoo, we can inspire our community to better understand wildlife and to show them what they can all do to help protect it.

"Elephants are extraordinarily powerful ambassadors for wildlife and the natural world, one of the many reasons we are very excited about Nandi joining Anjalee and Burma to become part of a future sustainable breeding herd," says Auckland Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken. 

"There is still a lot to be worked through before Nandi can come to New Zealand, including routine health testing over the coming months – as was done with Anjalee. 

Since arriving at Auckland Zoo last June, Anjalee has grown and is thriving (having put on over 700kgs!).  She and Burma have developed a strong relationship of mutual support and playfulness, both showing evident signs of enjoying each other's company immensely.

The Sri Lanka-Auckland Zoo partnership

Auckland Zoo's partnership with Sri Lankan government agencies, who manage Pinnawala orphanage, is one that will see us working together for many years to come - to assist both captive and wild populations of Asian elephants in Sri Lanka.  

Support to date includes providing training and development programmes for Zoo staff as well as supplying specialist veterinary equipment. ​

"We've already hosted two senior curatorial and veterinary staff for very successful month-long internships and we will welcome many more Sri Lankan staff in the future," says Mr Wilcken. 

"Our strengthening partnership will also allow us to collaborate closely with Sri Lanka's Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife on an additional programme of activities to help conserve Sri Lanka's elephant population in the wild, including the mitigation of human-elephant conflict.

"We're delighted to be in a position to help secure a brighter future for elephants in Sri Lanka, building on the support Auckland Zoo already gives to Sri Lanka's Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust and the Centre for Conservation and Research Sri Lanka."​

From garden to elephant table

​Burma and Anjalee love their greens and munch A LOT of it every day.

If you're doing a spot of pruning around your place and want to deliver your off-cuts, find out how to here​.

Friday 11 september 2015

​In this week's Zoo Tales, team leader of elephants Andrew and his team have started the process of walking with elephants Anjalee and Burma around the Zoo.​​​


Thursday 3 September

We had a great time at Anjalee's ninth birthday and she received some lovely and thoughtful gifts.

Room 26 from Waimauku School drew some colourful pictures of Anjalee, William from Wellington sent up a bag of peanuts and 87 year old Pat Gray from Mt Roskill knitted Anjalee a gorgeous pink elephant.

An elephant-sized thanks from all of us here at Auckland Zoo.​

See photos of Anjalee's presents here.​

Wednesday 12 August

It's World Elephant Day and we think this video of Burma and Anjalee will make you fall even more in love with elephants.​​​


Monday 3 August

Our team of elephant keepers are working towards going out for walks around the Zoo with Anjalee and Burma during opening hours.

This is a gradual process and one of the first steps is going out to the front of their enclosure for a munch and to see some visitors from behind a temporary barrier.​ See photos of Burm​a and Anjalee venturing out here.

Friday 17 July

It's not every day you see elephants look weightless! Thanks to our elephant keeper Joel, we're able to show you this stunning underwater footage of Burma and Anjalee in their pool.​​


Friday 10 July

Anjalee and Burma have been making headlines since Anjalee's arrival in late June and the two have been getting on famously ever since. Watch our latest Zoo Tales and see their first outing together as well as their blossoming friendship!​​​

Friday 26 june

​​​It's been a momentous and emotional week at the Zoo with elephant Anjalee finally here at her new home. Watch our latest Zoo Tales video, showing Anjalee's journey from Niue to the Zoo last Sunday.


​Wednesday 24 June

Since Anjalee's arrival to Auckland Zoo on Sunday 21 June, keepers have been introducing her and Burma in the barn - first with visual contact, then physical contact and now, for the first time, today they are out in the paddock together - much to the delight of Zoo staff and visitors. See p​hotos he​re.

Monday 22 June

Elephant Anjalee explored her new home this morning and some lucky zoo visitors were there to see her for the first time. See photo​s here.

Anjalee will have access to the outside paddock at various times over the coming weeks – so be sure to keep an eye on our social media or, if you’re at the Zoo, pop by the Elephant Clearing to see whether you can catch a glimpse.​

Sunday 21 June

Elephant Anjalee has la​nded safely in New Zealand​! Following a five-hour flight on a NZDF C-130 Hercules from Niue, she's now on her way to the Zoo, where our keepers will gradually introduce her to Burma.

Keepers will be observing very closely to assess when Anjalee's ready to be outside and visible to Zoo visitors - so keep an eye on Facebook and our website for updates on how she’s settling into her new home.

Thursday 11 June

​​Elephant Anjalee is in the final weeks of her quarantine in Niue. Watch her burn off energy chasing chickens in her enclosure and keeper Andrew preparing her for journey to her new home at Auckland Zoo.​​​

​​Wednesday 3 June

Postcard from Niue! Radio New Zealand Spectrum's Justin Gregory visited the elephant quarantine facility and interviewed keeper Andrew and zoo vet Sarah while they worked with Anjalee. Listen here.​

​​Wednesday 13 May

Postcard from Auckland Zoo's team leader of elephants - Andrew Coers.

"Anjalee is going great up here on Niue. While I’ve got no scales to weigh her, I can tell she's definitely put on condition since she's been here - her appetite is impressive! And she's got the energy to match.

What's she been up to? Well, there's been a lot of rain here in the past week so she's been loving rolling around in the mud.

She's also really getting into the enrichments we've created. We’ve got plastic tubing and hay balls hanging on a bungy, which she can kick incredibly high - it really makes us appreciate her strength, speed and flexibility. 

We also just came up with a new enrichment - wrapping thick rope around the sun-shade poles and weaving broom heads into them. Perfect for rubbing up against and scratching herself - she's really into it.

Training with myself and other members of my team here is progressing steadily too, including her walking with us, which she’ll be doing back home in Auckland.

Planes land here twice a week from Auckland so we always see a spike in visitors. Some tourists can’t believe there really is an elephant on Niue until they see Anjalee for themselves".

See photos of Anjalee and Andr​ew in Niue here​.

​​​Tuesday 5 May

​​​Half-way through the 90-day quarantine period in Niue - catch up with keeper Andrew and our playful little elephant, Anjalee!​​​​

​​Wednesday 29 April 2015

Anjalee’s appetite is growing by the day - and night (elephants also eat throughout the night when not sleeping, which is about 5 – 6 hours).

Our local browse man, Sila, is having to source more and more plants and fruits for Anjalee - luckily there’s plenty of food around.​

Andrew says: "Anjalee's actually quite a guts! But that's a good thing for a growing young elephant. She's especially enjoying Niue's coconut and vi (the Niuean apple) as well as the elephant grass and coconut palm."​​

See photos of what's on the men​u for Anjalee in Niue​.

​​Wednesday 22 April 2015

​​​​Andrew and the team are always looking for fun activities to keep life interesting for our very energetic and cheeky Anjalee in Niue. The latest is a sand pit – elephant style!

A large pile of sand, sourced from the local quarry was recently delivered.  Early in the morning, keeper Odin built up a sweat (yep it's hot early!) wheelbarrowing in many loads, much to the delight of Anjalee, and locals and tourists at the quarantine facility's public viewing platform.

It didn't take long for her to get into it as you can see from the photos.  Like dust bathing with soil, which Anjalee also does, it's a great sunscreen for elephant skin. 

See photos of Anjalee dust bathing ​with sand and soil in Niue.​​​​

​​Tuesday 14 April 2015

​​​​​In Episode 2 of Anjalee's journey, watch Anjalee and team leader of elephants Andrew on their first morning at the elephant quarantine facility in Niue.​​​​​​​​​​​​

Thursday 9 April 2015​​​​

We're excited to share with you our first episode of elephant Anjalee's journey to Auckland Zoo. Watch zoo staff prepare Anjalee's quarantine facility, her arrival in Niue on a NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules and the first moments of Anjalee in her new home with keeper Andrew.​​​​​​​​​

Anjalee at her mud wallow in Niue

Monday 30 March 2015​

Postcard from Niue! Andrew sent us this photo of Anjalee at her mud wallow. "Anjalee absolutely loves to dust bathe and get dirty, especially when she's wet from a hose-down".​​

 Anjalee by Quintin Kaan (4 years old)

Anjalee by Quintin Kaan

​​Wednesday 18 March 2015

We're happy to report that Anjalee arrived safely at the quarantine facility in  Niue on Friday afternoon. She's doing well, munching on browse, pineapple and watermelon after her long trip.​

Visit Auckland Zoo's Facebook pag​e to see a photo album​ of Anjalee's journey to Niue, where she will be for the next 90 days, before joining Burma at Auckland Zoo.​​​​​

Friday 13 March 2015

​We could​n't be more excited to tell you that eight-year old Asian elephant Anjalee has begun her journey to join Burma.

Anjalee is the first of two elephants who will be coming to Auckland Zoo from Sri Lanka's Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, and tonight (NZT), she boarded an Emirates freighter plane in Colombo.

Although Anjalee's final destination is Auckland Zoo, she is required to first complete a 90-day quarantine period on the beautiful island of ​Niue.

About Anjalee
Our director Jonathan says Anjalee is "a lovely elephant" ​and believes she will be a great companion for Burma.

"Everyone involved, especially our elephant team, have all worked tirelessly to make this happen. It's been an enormously complex undertaking but we all believe so strongly that we can give Anjalee a great home, Burma a companion and continue to support important elephant conservation efforts in the wild."

Follow her journey
​​We want you to join us on her journey and tell you all about Anjalee. So make sure to keep checking back on this page for regular 'Ele News' and video updates.​​​​​

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