A 52-inch-tall, 600-pound "baby" has moved in as Hogle Zoo's newest resident.
She has no name but is housed in one of the paddocks in the Giant Animals Complex on the zoo grounds, near the mouth of Emigration Canyon.The a 2-year-old African elephant was acquired from a dealer who was granted permission by the Zimbabwe government to take the animal out of the country.
Appearing pleased with visitors, the elephant seemed to almost pose for photographers Wednesday afternoon at the zoo.
A contest may be held to name the new elephant, said Lynn Davis, the zoo's marketing and development director.
Although elephants are considered an endangered species, the herds in Africa are culled to protect available vegetation from overgrazing.
Lately, the Zimbabwe government has granted permission for elephants to be taken out of the country, but they must be taken to accredited zoos. Hogle Zoo is such a facility, which means it meets animal-care and other standards.
In 1916, Salt Lake's zoo, then in Liberty Park, acquired its first elephant, a circus animal named Princess Alice.
Alice was purchased for $3,250 through penny, nickel and dime donations from Salt Lake area schoolchildren. Alice was named after President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice, and became well known for breaking out of her exhibit and running loose through Salt Lake neighborhoods, tearing down clotheslines and generally becoming a nuisance.
Alice's antics motivated Salt Lake residents to consider moving the zoo from Liberty Park, thus providing a more secure facility for the runaway creature.
The zoo's newest addition, which cost about $18,000, brings Hogle Zoo's total elephant population to five, including one other African elephant and three Asian or Indian elephants. All are females.