Over 12 years ago, the Houston Zoo began protecting wild elephants in Borneo, Asia. As a result of our support, there has been an increase of the wild Asian elephant populations. As part of a large-scale, collaborative effort, our support has helped lead to an increase of the wild Asian elephant populations. This August, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) kicked off its first month-long campaign to bring attention to the plight of Asian elephants and to encourage the public to take action to help save this endangered species. As part of this campaign, we’re showing #TonsofLove for Asian elephants and want our visitors to share why they love them, too, along with a photo of your hands in the shape of a heart with our elephants.
“We have tons of love for Asian elephants because they’re an intelligent and social animal that forms strong bonds with each other. And we love our herd because they’re 32 tons of fun!” – Elephant Team
To help celebrate this initiative and highlight this species, we’re sharing some fun facts about our 10 Asian elephants.
Meet our Elephant Herd
Thai is the oldest elephant (54) at the Houston Zoo and came to Houston in 1980. He is the tallest male Asian elephant in North America, and the father of Baylor, Tupelo, Duncan, Joy, and Tilly.
Methai also came to the Zoo in 1980 and is the oldest female elephant (50). She is the matriarch of the herd and has a large pink birthmark on her face. She also has the most pink freckles of all the females.
She is the tallest adult female elephant and is mom to Baylor, Duncan, and Joy. Shanti is the best painter in the herd and has a delicate trunk tip (also referred to as the finger).
Tess is the only blonde in the herd (blonde tail and ear hair) and gets very excited whenever she sees Thailand. She’s mom to Tucker, Tupelo, and Tilly, and is known to steal food from the other elephants (kale and pumpkin in particular).
Tucker was born in California before coming to Houston. He is extremely smart and a fast learner. He enjoys splashing in the pool and seeing the guests’ reactions. We offer daily meet the keeper chats at 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. where guests can see our elephants take a dip and receive ice pops.
Baylor is named after Baylor College of Medicine. He is more cautious with new items and enjoys sparring with Duncan and Baylor.
Duncan is very inquisitive and likes to investigate new things. He also enjoys swimming in the pool, especially in the rain.
Like her mom Tess, she enjoys playing in the mud. Tupelo enjoys being a big sister and afternoon naps.
Joy is our second youngest and likes to climb on exhibit rocks and logs. She loves playing with Tilly and swimming.
Tilly is our newest addition to the herd. She is very rambunctious and energetic. She enjoys swimming with her siblings.
Every time you visit the Zoo, you’re helping save this species, like our own herd, in the wild. Your admission supports the elephant protection work of Dr. Farina Othman, a Malaysian scientist and member of the Houston Zoo’s conservation field staff, in Borneo, Asia. Last year Farina was able to collar four wild elephants in Borneo, which allows her to watch over these individuals and track their movements, helping to create protection plans for the herds. Visit the Zoo and learn how you can help save them today.