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 come to celebrate her birthday each year. Asha is pregnant and due to have her second offspring by Christmas 2014.

     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.

Malee

     Malee is the "first ever" elephant calf born at the Oklahoma City Zoo. She was born on April 15, 2011, to mom Asha and dad Sneezy, a male elephant from the Tulsa Zoo.  Malee's name means "flower" or "jasmine" in Thai. Weighing approximately 300 pounds at birth, she weighs 3,000 pounds four years later. Malee is very energetic, eager, and loves playing and doing training sessions. Thousands of Oklahomans love giving our youngster lots of attention when they come to celebrate her birthday each year at the Zoo.

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.

 

Rex

     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 are expecting their first offspring together most likely by Christmas 2014.