African elephant bull moving from Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo announced plans for its bull elephant, Ajani, to move to the Toledo Zoo...
The Sedgwick County Zoo announced plans for its bull elephant, Ajani, to move to the Toledo Zoo in Ohio.(Sedgwick County Zoo)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:16 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In a bittersweet move for the betterment of the species, the Sedgwick County Zoo announced its 23-year-old bull elephant, Ajani, will be moving to the Toledo Zoo in Ohio.

The Sedgwick County Zoo said The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended the move as part of its African Elephant Species Survival Plan.

“We are sad to say goodbye to Ajani, but we are excited for this new chapter in his life. We can’t wait to see him integrated into the Toledo herd and the social dynamics that will bring,” said Sedgwick County Zoo Elephant Manager Lauren Ripple.

Over the past five years, the Sedgwick County Zoo credited Ajani for playing “an integral role in the development of [its] young herd.”

“Hs gentle nature taught the females how caring a bull can be. Additionally, Ajani’s presence was crucial to the development of the Zoo’s younger bull, Titan because males are social, and young bulls need a role model to teach them proper behavior,” the Sedgwick County Zoo said.

The zoo explained that Ajani’s move “mirrors elephant behavior in the wild, as bull elephants naturally move between herds for socializing and breeding purposes.”

Due to poaching, habitat loss and trafficking for the illegal ivory trade, the zoo said the African elephant population is threatened. The breeding program at the Sedgwick County Zoo, it said, “will help to protect their population in the United States for generations to come.”

The zoo said plans call for Ajani to arrive at his new home this fall, “although travel plans are currently being coordinated.”