Environment & Science

Say hello to Shaunzi, the LA Zoo's newest Asian elephant

Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017.  The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Richard Vogel/AP
Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017.  The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Asian elephant, Shaunzi, keeps an eye out for visitors to her enclosure during her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Richard Vogel/AP
Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017.  The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Asian elephant Shaunzi, takes a snack left for her in her fence enclosure during her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017. Visitors are getting their first glimpses of Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant. The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to LA from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Richard Vogel/AP
Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017.  The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Shaunzi, the L.A. Zoo's newest Asian elephant, got to meet the public on Thursday.
Tad Motoyama / Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Asian elephant Shaunzi, the Zoo's newest elephant, kicks up dust while making her first appearance at the Los Angeles Zoo on Thursday, July 6, 2017.  The 46-year-old Asian elephant came to Los Angeles from Fresno after its longtime companion died. Shaunzi, who was born in Thailand and spent years in a circus, was introduced to the public this week in the Elephants of Asia exhibit. The pachyderm was trucked 215 miles from Fresno Chaffee Zoo in a special crate last month. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
Shaunzi is the L.A. Zoo's newest Asian elephant.


The Los Angeles Zoo’s newest Asian elephant made her public debut on Thursday.

Shaunzi can be found in the Thai yard at the Elephants of Asia exhibit, where she continues her month-long quarantine, according to information from the L.A. Zoo.

Zoo officials say the 46-year-old pachyderm spends a lot of her day giving herself baths and playing with things in the yard, like the large tires. 

https://twitter.com/LAZoo/status/882998377780203520

Born in Thailand in 1971 and spending much of her youth in the Cristiani Bros. Circus, Shaunzi arrived at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in 1983 with another Asian elephant, Kara. According to the zoo, the two female elephants were everyday companions until Kara died on June 7.

The Fresno zoo then asked the L.A. Zoo to give Shaunzi a new home, where she will eventually meet up with fellow elephants. 

“There’s kind of this misconception that you can just throw all of these elephants together and it’s gonna be fine, but just like any other animal or even people, it doesn’t mean one elephant is necessarily get along with another elephant,” said Josh Sisk, the LA Zoo'z curator of animals.

In about three weeks, Shaunzi will start interacting with the other elephants through the fencing, where they can touch, smell and see each other. 

“Then we’ll be able to start to kind of judge, kind of see where their personalities are,” Sisk told KPCC.