Average life span in the wild: Up to 70 years
Size: Height at the shoulder, 8.2 to 13 ft. (2.5 to 4 m)
Weight: 5,000 to 14,000 lbs. (2,268 to 6,350 kg)
Group name: Herd
Protection status: Threatened
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It’s me, Zena ZooKeeper from Oakland Zoo, here to tell you all about the African elephants that live there. Did you know that Oakland Zoo is the only zoo in Northern California with African elephants? The Zoo is home to four African elephants named Donna, Lisa, M’Dunda and Osh.
Osh, our only boy, is 21 and has been with us since 2004. He came from Howletts Wild Animal Park, where he was born with his family group. Young males in the wild get kicked out of their herd from ages 8-12, and that is what Osh’s mom and aunts started to do to him, so we gave him a home here at Oakland Zoo. Osh is extremely active, exploratory, and curious. He’s got a very lively and chipper walk, and he loves to play, browse and graze.
Donna is 36 years old and came to Oakland Zoo in 1989. She very quickly became the dominant female because she had the most “attitude”. She is the most playful out of the girls. At nighttime you will find her having fun playing with the large tractor tires in her enclosure and charging into the pool for a cool-down! Personality-wise Donna is impatient, loves to participate in training, and is closely bonded with Lisa, whom she sleeps with every night.
Lisa is 38 years old and has been with us since she was two years old. She came from Kruger National Park in South Africa and went briefly to a “training” facility for several months then came to the zoo. Lisa is an ‘elephant’s elephant,’ she likes all of her pachyderm friends, and wants to make everyone happy. She loves her pool. We call her our water baby, because she will take daily dips if the weather is right!
Lisa can be sneaky, agile, and can be very stubborn—and we still love her for it!
M’Dunda is our oldest elephant. She 46 years old and came to us in 1991. She had a sad history of abuse where she lived before coming to Oakland Zoo; which is amazing because she is an extremely gentle soul and wouldn’t hurt a fly. She loves to play with Osh, and is often spotted at night leaning over the fence into Osh’s area, trunk-twirling with him. She can be a little insecure, and scared of new situations. When she first came here she wouldn’t eat her treat boxes! She sure does now, though! She also has long beautiful tusks.