Anjalee the elephant has arrived at Auckland Zoo

Auckland Zoo has welcomed eight year old Anjalee an elephant to join 32 year old Burma. Burma has been living alone since the death of her friend Kashin during 2009  so will be incredibly excited to meet her new friend.

Anjalee has travelled from Sri Lanka where she lived at Pinnawala Elephant orphanage. The zoo worked with Sri Lanka’s Department of Zoological Gardens to bring Anjalee to New Zealand from the orphanage which is currently overcrowded.

“It’s fantastic to finally have Anjalee here in New Zealand,” says Auckland Zoo director, Jonathan Wilcken. “Under our elephant team’s expert care and management Anjalee has absolutely thrived while in quarantine on Niue, growing in both confidence and size! That’s set to continue here at Auckland Zoo. With our incredible team and a world-leading elephant programme, we can give Anjalee a wonderful life, provide Burma with a great companion, and continue to support vital elephant conservation efforts in the wild.”

For the past three months Anjalee has been in Niue completing her mandatory three month quarantine period.


Anjalee has been helped on her journey by the New Zealand Defence Force who flew her from Sri Lanka to Niue and then from Niue to New Zealand. Currently she is spending time getting used to her new home off-exhibit in the elephant barn.

Sir Don McKinnon, Chairman of Regional Facilities Auckland (who manage Auckland Zoo) explained, “This significant event for the Zoo has been made possible with the generous assistance from the government of Sri Lanka and the close cooperation of the government of Niue.  Our own government and its agencies, including MFAT and the New Zealand Defence Force, have also been of tremendous help.”

Each year $1 million is provided to protect and conserve wildlife such as Asian elephants in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Sumatra by Auckland Zoo. Zoo Director, Jonathon Wilcken said, “We’re very grateful and proud to say that a large percentage of this conservation funding comes directly from each and every one of our visitors as part of their admission.”

Photo Credit: Auckland Zoo

By Cale Russell is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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