Thanks to our amazing team of elephant keepers, Asian elephant Burma is continuing to enjoy and excel at the regular familiarisation sessions she has in her transport crate to prepare for her planned move to Australia’s Monarto Safari Park near the end of this year. (All going well, likely around late October/early November).

“Keeping an activity like this super fun and interesting – a bit like a game, all helps Burma with feeling comfortable and confident inside the crate and associating it with positive experiences,” says elephant team leader Andrew.

“It’s great to see how well she’s doing. She’s now super comfortable and adept at walking into the crate both forwards and backwards (elephants are remarkably agile for their size) and also being inside while the crate doors are closed. We do things like talk to her and offer her food while she’s in the crate too, as these are things we’ll be doing when travelling with her.”

Andrew says everything he and the team are doing is to pave the way for her to feel as secure and comfortable as possible in her crate and see it as her safe haven when travelling. As part of these training sessions, the use of small food rewards for this food-motivated elephant (who needs to consume around 150kg of food each day!) are unsurprisingly, very well received. Occasionally, this includes the extra special treat of dried fruits like apricots and pineapple.

“Burma absolutely loves dried fruit, but it’s something we offer sparingly because of the high sugar content, and she does get plenty of natural good sugar through favourite plants like sugar cane and banana palm,” explains Andrew.

Burma’s bespoke steel and wood crate (3m high, 4m long, and just under 2m wide) is specially designed to be the best size to cater for her height and weight (3.5 tonne) and ensure her safety while travelling by aircraft and road transport.

Ahead of Burma’s move late this year, Andrew and our Zoo team are continuing to work closely with our great colleagues at Zoos South Australia’s Monarto Safari Park, where construction of the elephant habitat is well under way.

“There’s still a lot of exciting work ahead and a very busy schedule to get everything we need at this phase of the development ready in time, and a fantastic sense of teamwork and support amongst us all. We are all driven by a love and passion for elephants – providing these extraordinary animals with an incredible home and social herd structure for their best long-term health and wellbeing,” says Andrew.

Burma’s transport crate familiarisation sessions are something Andrew and the team do with her most days, so next time you visit, you might be lucky enough to catch one!