Meet Our Elephant Family

picture of elephants asha and chandra

Sizing It Up!

     The elephant family in our care is special to us and the world.  The family plays an essential role in the survival of the elephant species in Africa and Asia because number of Asian elephants in the wild has diminished to an estimated 30,000 worldwide. Asian elephants can live up to 60 years in the wild, but most do not live that long due to dangers in their environment such as poaching and habitat destruction.  The Asian elephant is on the Endangered Species List and is in real threat of becoming extinct if conservation efforts are not made to preserve the species.

     Asian elephants can grow up to 11,000 pounds and stand about 10 feet tall, although females elephants generally grow to about 8 ½ feet tall and weigh less than their male counterparts.  While their size may be distinguishing, their notorious grey color is not—this skin coloration allows them to blend in to their forest environment.  Their trunks provide an important adaptation as they allow the elephants to reach objects close to the ground, eat, drink, blow dirt for skin protection, greet other elephants, fight and much more.

Asha picture of elephant walking

     Asha is the mom of the group. Born February 2, 1995, she has lived at the Zoo since December 1, 1998. She has the privilege of being mom to Malee, the first elephant baby born at the Zoo. Malee was born April 15, 2011, and thousands came to celebrate her birthday each year. Unfortunately, Malee died in 2015. Asha gave birth to her second calf on December 22, 2014--a female weighing 332 pounds named Achara.

     Asha has pink freckles on her trunk, and has a slightly larger belly and is taller than her sister, Chandra. Asha is very vocal and squeaks when she's excited or unsure of something.

Chandra (Asha's sister)picture of elephant chandra

     Chandra enjoys being the doting aunt of youngster Malee. Chandra was born July 2, 1996, and has lived at the Zoo since December 1, 1998. Unlike Asha, Chandra has small tusks and more hair on her forehead. Chandra is very independent and somewhat precocious but also enjoys being social.




     Achara (AH-CAR-AH) was born at the Zoo to mom Asha and dad Rex on Monday, December 22, 2014, at 1:35 p.m. She was the second calf born at the Zoo and weighed 332 pounds. You can read more about her birth, the Zoo's 22-month journey during Asha's pregnancy and how her special name was revealed. Click here.



     Asian elephant, Rex, arrived at the Zoo on December 13, 2011, to join the zoo’s two adult females and then 8-month-old Malee. Rex was born in India in approximately 1968. Weighing more than 8,000 pounds, Rex comes to the Zoo from Canada’s African Lion Safari.  Rex's trek from Canada to the Zoo, covering more than 1,500 miles, cost upwards of $10,000. The Oklahoma Zoological Society and Bank of Oklahoma partnered to raise funds for his transportation costs. Rex and Asha just had their first offspring, Achara, together on December 22, 2014.


    Bamboo, 48, was born in Thailand in 1966 and arrived at the OKC Zoo in May 2015 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. She is the “hairier” of the elephants and is in good health. She is inquisitive but cautious and takes her time doing new things. She enjoys playing in the pools of the Elephant habitat. She is known to be socially bonded with people and likes to be the leader.



     Male Asian elephant, Kandula (KON'-DUL-UH), came to the Zoo from the Smithsonian National Zoo in the fall of 2015. Being with the herd's females Kandula’s not related to will support his natural development, and his genetic diversity will contribute to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Asian elephant population. Kandula was born November 25, 2001, and weighs approximately 7,000 pounds. Kandula was named for the most famous elephant in Sri Lanka’s history. The original Kandula was a gift to an infant prince 2,150 years ago, and the future king and his elephant grew up together. The elephant was known for his courage, strength and loyalty.