As our skilled and dedicated elephant keepers continue to do a great job preparing Burma for her move to Monarto Safari Park in early November, construction of her new home is progressing at pace!

Burma will be the first of five Asian elephants to arrive at Zoos South Australia’s (ZSA) Monarto Safari Park - with two elephants (female Permai and male Putra Mas) from Perth Zoo expected mid-2025, then two females (Pak Boon and Tang Mo) from Taronga Zoo - to arrive later in 2025.

Our elephant team leader Andrew, currently at Monarto Safari Park working closely with our Australian colleagues and their project team on the detailed design and build, says it’s fantastic to see key aspects really starting to come to life after so much planning.  

“Once fully complete, the habitat will give Burma and her new elephant companions an expansive 12ha made up of four separate areas (as well as visitor arrival and viewing spaces) – and capacity to also grow the herd. Along with providing maximum flexibility to manage both cows and bulls and support their social dynamics, it’ll be an enriching environment with plenty of vegetation for grazing, varied terrain and water/swimming holes and mud wallows,” explains Andrew.

When Burma arrives the large bespoke elephant barn to cater for the herd, its adjoining yards and the first of the four habitat areas, will all be completed.

With the great support of Auckland Zoo, Andrew, his wife and senior elephant keeper Corryn, and fellow senior elephant keepers Odin and Laurel will all travel to Australia with Burma. Here, Andrew, Corryn and Odin will stay on for as long as required – to provide Burma with that reassuring familiarity and continuity of care as they work with their colleagues to fully settle her into her new environment and meet and integrate with her new elephant family.

“It’s been a huge journey to get to this point and there’s still a way to go, but we couldn’t ask for a better team to work with than our colleagues at Monarto Safari Park. Back in Auckland we’ve collectively got many decades of experience working with Burma. The close bonds and trusting relationships we’ve formed really support all that we’re doing as a team to prepare Burma for her move – from the training you might see us doing in her travel crate to daily workouts and various health checks and treatments,” says Andrew.

Last month, Andrew and the team welcomed ZSA’s animal welfare and research manager Justine Partoon and animal behaviour and creative programs manager, Nic Bishop – here for a week-long visit.

“Caring for elephants is a complex science and relationships are really key, so this was a great opportunity with our support, for Justine and Nic to get to know Burma and learn more about her health, personality, and behaviours – and likewise for Burma to get to know them,” explains Andrew. 

It's just under a year ago since ZSA embarked on its ambitious community fundraiser to successfully raise (within just one month!) the additional funds it required to build the Monarto Safari Park elephant habitat.

“It’s been all systems go since then, and very exciting to now see the elephant habitat a hive of activity each day, and watch construction take shape at such a rapid pace to prepare for Burma’s arrival,” says ZSA chief executive, Elaine Bensted.

Our community still has a good few months to see Burma ahead of her November move, and we’ll keep you updated as her preparations progress. If you’re visiting us these July holidays, be sure to get along to see her at Elephant Clearing.