Tembo Preserve is located in Northern California within a three-hour driving distance from the Oakland Zoo. The Preserve site is the 4,929-acre former Diamond Ranch in Tehama County, approximately 17 miles west of I-5 and about 30 minutes northwest of the city of Red Bluff. Located in a rural area, the Preserve as well as the surrounding properties are primarily used for winter cattle grazing.
Northern California is one of only five areas in the world with a climate comparable to southern Africa, where some of the largest populations of African elephants live. The summers are dry and hot with high temperatures above 89°F, while winters are mild with an average daily high temperature below 62°F.
Encouraging natural behavior, such as foraging and exploring, is paramount to enhancing a captive elephant’s everyday life. Tehama County’s rolling hill topography and grassy woodland vegetation are ideally suited to elephants and their grazing patterns and will enable them to experience a captive lifestyle unlike any other. In the wild, elephants typically travel between 7–13 miles a day foraging for the massive 100-1,000 lbs. of food they require depending on the type and quality of food available. Captive elephants typically consume about 250 pounds of food per day and because they live a sedentary life they are often obese. The expansive Preserve will allow each elephant access to over 100 acres with their food scattered throughout, requiring them to search for it as they would in the wild. As elephants move through the vast hills, pasture, and blue oak woodland they will develop extraordinary muscle tone rarely seen in captive elephants.
Receive our bimonthly newsletter and get the latest information about Tembo Preserve and elephants in the wild.