Our elephant keepers are making great progress in preparing elephants Anjalee and Burma for their moves to their new homes in Australia later this year.

Anjalee and Burma will each travel in a purpose-built crate designed to be the perfect height, width, and length for their respective sizes and for their safety. You can see these in their habitat when you visit – and these July school holidays is a great time to come in, as while there’s still a lot to be worked through, they’ll likely be leaving us before the October holidays.

For the past few months, with their keepers - in whom they have incredible bonds and trust, Anjalee and Burma have been having a lot of fun exploring and familarising themselves with every aspect of these intriguing new additions in their environment.

Elephant team leader Andrew says all the training and conditioning he and his team are doing with these precious pachyderms is to enable them to feel super comfortable and secure in the crates so that these then become their safe havens when they do travel.

“It’s the trust we keepers have with the elephants that enables us to do this training. What’s been great is that from the get-go they’ve both been super inquisitive and eager to investigate their crates - even more than we expected.  As visitors will see, we’ve fenced off the area where the crates are. This is just to make sure the elephants don’t have too much fun and potentially push them over when we’re not around. We’re finding that when the girls do then have access to the crates, they’re really keen to investigate them.

“Nothing is rushed, and it’s all based on us taking cues from the girls to when and what our next step will be. We provide them with security, support, and comfort through the relationship we each have with them, by our body positioning, and giving praise and food rewards. These all help with Anjalee and Burma being willing to give this new challenge a go,” says Andrew.

All of the Zoo’s Elephant team are involved in this training, and when it’s time for the elephants to move, will divide into two teams to share the roles of travelling with each elephant to their respective new homes, and staying on with them to fully settle them in.

If you are able to visit, as well as attending the 11:15am (daily) elephant encounter, you may also get to see Andrew and the team in action as they continue to familiarise Anjalee and Burma with their transport crates

We’ll continue to share updates on the elephants’ preparations and upcoming moves, so be sure to stay tuned.