Brookfield Zoo welcomes elephant

Brookfield Zoo's Joyce, a 26-year-old African elephant. Photo courtesy of brookfieldzoo.org.
Joyce, 26, companion for Christy, 28
August 10, 2009 1:56:32 PM PDT
Joyce, 26, is a busybody who loves to play in the mud, according to her handlers. The African elephant was transferred in a truck from California to her new home at Brookfield Zoo.

Joyce, who is on loan as part of the AZA African Elephant Species Survival Plan, will be a companion for Christy, Brookfield Zoo's 28-year-old elephant. The two will be formally introduced in a series of supervised meetings both in and off exhibit. They will live in the newly renovated outdoor elephant yard.

"Both elephants will need to adjust to one another and figure out their relationship with each other," said Kim Smith, CZS vice president of animal care, in a press release. "We have experts on hand to assist in this introduction and feel confident it will go well. Our focus is always on doing what is best for each animal."

Before going to live at Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., Joyce was owned by private individuals. She also traveled in a circus.

"We are thrilled to have Joyce join Christy here at the zoo. Our elephant team spent a long time visiting and evaluating suitable companions for Christy. We believe that Joyce, with her easy-going temperament and playful manner, is a great match and that this will be good for both elephants," said Kim Smith, CZS vice president of animal care, in a press release. "Joyce really is a beautiful elephant. You could even say she's pretty."

She's almost 8 feet tall and 6,800 pounds. Her favorite fruit is an orange.

Christy's former companion, Affie, died in May at almost 40 years old.

"During the summer, our keepers have put a lot of extra time into Christy's care and training because we wanted to help her adjust after losing her friend, Affie. She formed a stronger bond with her keepers and is doing very well," Smith said.


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