Ajani came to Wichita in 2018 for breeding purposes, but there have not been any babies. He is leaving because The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has recommended that he join two females in Toledo.
“We are sad to say goodbye to Ajani, but we are excited for this new chapter in his life,” Lauren Ripple, SCZ elephant manager, said. “We can’t wait to see him integrated into the Toledo herd and the social dynamics that will bring.”
SCZ workers have seen breeding attempts by all three African elephant bulls, but they don’t know if any of the six females are pregnant yet.
“Elephant pregnancies can be difficult to confirm, requiring blood work and sometimes even an ultrasound to know for sure,” Jennica King, SCZ director of marketing and communication, said. “Because elephant cycles are longer than human cycles, it can sometimes take a few months after conception to be able to confirm.”
The zoo wants people to stop by soon to say goodbye to 23-year-old Ajani. He is expected to arrive at his new home sometime this fall.
In posts on social media, SCZ says Ajani has a gentle nature that has taught the females how caring a bull can be. Ajani’s presence also helped the youngest bull learn proper behavior.
SCZ says moving Ajani is similar to what happens in the wild. Bull elephants find females to breed with and then move on shortly after, while the females stay together, living in multi-generational family groups.
Breeding them is vital because the African elephant population is threatened due to poaching and the illegal ivory trade. If SCZ can successfully breed them, it will help protect the population of African elephants in the U.S. for generations to come.