The elephants are here!
The new National Elephant Center north of Fellsmere in Indian River County recently welcomed its first residents – a family of four African pachyderms. The group consists of 10-year-old Tufani, his 5-year-old brother Tsavo, their mother Moyo and their Aunt Thandi, the matriarch. They were sent from Disney’s Animal Kingdom near Orlando because Tufani is entering adolescence. Like any typical adolescent male, he may become rambunctious, in which case he will have to be separated from the rest of the family. But he can remain at the center and need not be moved to another facility. The four elephants are living in the center’s 30-acre first phase, which includes a 200-foot, open-sided barn. The center is supported by 73 zoos in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and will cover 225 acres, cost $15 million and be home to as many as three dozen temporary and permanent residents. It will be a place for elephant care and research, where young bulls can stay for a while and aging elephants can retire. The center is closed to the public, but schools and civic groups can request a tour. You probably know about the chimps sanctuary in St. Lucie County. It looks like the Treasure Coast is becoming a safe zone for captive animals. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.