Brookfield Zoo, located in Brookfield, Illinois, is one of the oldest and most well-known zoos in the country. It is home to a wide variety of animals, including elephants.
In this article, we will take a detailed look at the elephant exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, including its current layout, history, and conservation efforts.
Current Elephant Exhibit at Brookfield Zoo
The current elephant exhibit at Brookfield Zoo is called “The Swamp,” and it was first opened to the public in 2002. The exhibit is designed to mimic the natural habitat of elephants, with a large pond and plenty of room for the elephants to roam and explore.
The exhibit is home to a herd of Asian elephants, which are an endangered species. The exhibit features a spacious indoor area for the elephants to retreat to in inclement weather, as well as an outdoor area for them to graze and socialize.
The Swamp exhibit is a 2.5-acre area of the zoo and is spacious enough to accommodate the herd of five Asian elephants.
Recent Updates and Renovations
In recent years, Brookfield Zoo has made several improvements to the elephant exhibit to ensure the well-being of the elephants and to provide visitors with an immersive and educational experience.
In 2017, the zoo added a new elephant-friendly barn, which includes a mud wallow, a dust bath, and a heated floor. This addition aims to provide the elephants with a more natural environment and to improve their overall health and well-being.
Additionally, the zoo has added several interactive exhibits that allow visitors to learn more about elephant behavior and conservation efforts.
These exhibits include a “virtual elephant tour” that allows visitors to see the zoo’s elephants in their natural habitat, as well as a “mahout training” exhibit that demonstrates how elephants are trained and cared for.
History of Elephants at Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo has a long history of keeping elephants, dating back to the 1930s. Over the years, the zoo has housed several different species of elephants, including Asian and African elephants.
Some of the notable elephants that have lived at the zoo include:
- “Suzy,” an Asian elephant who was born at the zoo in 1951 and lived there for over 50 years. She was one of the oldest Asian elephants in captivity and was beloved by visitors and staff alike.
- “Peggy,” an African elephant who was captured in the wild and brought to the zoo in the 1960s. She was the first African elephant to be born in captivity in the United States.
Despite the zoo’s history of keeping elephants, there have been controversies and issues surrounding the treatment and care of the animals at Brookfield Zoo.
In the past, animal rights activists have criticized the zoo for keeping elephants in small enclosures and for not providing them with enough space to move around.
Elephant Conservation Efforts at Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo is committed to the conservation and protection of elephants, both in captivity and in the wild. The zoo participates in several research and breeding programs to help ensure the survival of the species. Some of the notable conservation efforts at the zoo include:
The Species Survival Plan (SSP):
Brookfield Zoo is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Asian elephants. The SSP is a cooperative breeding program that aims to maintain a genetically diverse and self-sustaining population of Asian elephants in captivity.
Brookfield Zoo’s elephant research program is focused on understanding the behavior and ecology of Asian elephants, with the goal of improving the care and management of captive elephants.
The research includes monitoring the health and reproductive status of the elephants, as well as studying their social behavior and communication.
Brookfield Zoo works with several organizations to support elephant conservation in the wild. The zoo is a member of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF), which supports conservation programs in Africa and Asia.
Additionally, the zoo has a partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to support elephant conservation in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
In conclusion, Brookfield Zoo is home to a herd of Asian elephants and has a long history of keeping and caring for these magnificent animals.
The zoo has made several recent updates to the elephant exhibit to improve the well-being of the elephants and to provide visitors with an immersive and educational experience.
Additionally, Brookfield Zoo is committed to elephant conservation and participates in several research and breeding programs, as well as partnerships with organizations to support elephant conservation in the wild.
We encourage readers to visit the elephant exhibit at Brookfield Zoo and learn more about elephant conservation efforts. By visiting the zoo, you can see the elephants up close and learn more about the efforts being made to protect this endangered species.
How many elephants are currently living in the elephant exhibit at Brookfield Zoo?
The current elephant exhibit at Brookfield Zoo is home to a herd of five Asian elephants.
Are the elephants at Brookfield Zoo on display all year round?
Yes, the elephants are on display all year round, however, the zoo may close the exhibit for maintenance or to provide the elephants with private time.
Does Brookfield Zoo have any plans to expand the elephant exhibit in the future?
The zoo has not announced any official plans to expand the elephant exhibit in the future, but they do regularly update the exhibit to improve the well-being of the animals and provide visitors with an immersive and educational experience.
What other conservation efforts is Brookfield Zoo involved in besides the Species Survival Plan (SSP)?
The zoo is involved in several other conservation efforts besides the SSP, such as research on the behavior and ecology of Asian elephants and partnerships with organizations to support elephant conservation in the wild.
Are there any educational programs or interactive exhibits for visitors to learn more about the elephants at Brookfield Zoo?
Yes, the zoo has several interactive exhibits and educational programs for visitors to learn more about the elephants and elephant conservation efforts. These include a “virtual elephant tour” and a “mahout training” exhibit.
Visitors can also participate in guided tours and talks led by zoo staff to learn more about the care and management of the elephants at the zoo.