A former circus elephant will spend the remainder of her years at a sanctuary in Tennessee after living among a small elderly herd at San Antonio Zoo since 2016.
San Antonio Zoo president and CEO Tim Morrow said the Golden Girls “inspired visitors to care for and want to protect elephants from extinction.” He added, “we are going to miss Nicole dearly … We are grateful for the years she spent with us as one of the Golden Girls. She and Karen bonded beyond expectations with Lucky.”
“Nicole is actually used to traveling,” said Rachel Malstaff, director of mammals at the San Antonio Zoo.
“Before joining the Golden Girls in Bahiti Waters, Nicole was part of a traveling circus. She was naturally curious and quickly comfortable when we introduced her to the transportation crate. I have no doubts that the trip will go smoothly, and this sweet elephant will feel right at home when she arrives,” she said.
Nicole will join nine other elephants at the sanctuary, who are all aged between 37 and 60.
The average lifespan of an Asian elephant is 47.5, according to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. The species are designated as critically endangered, and the World Wildlife Fund estimates there are less than 52,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.
San Antonio Zoo plans to join the current elephant and giraffe habitats to create an expanded savanna area at the Texas park.