Hearing the Herd
Say hello to Qinisa, our youngest elephant. An adorable bundle of energy, she likes to wrestle and play chase with her older brother, Mac. She’s smart, curious, and celebrated her second birthday with an elephant-treat cake that she shared with her family.
But if it weren’t for you, Qinisa would never have been born.
Generations On the Move
Qinisa’s mom, Swazi, is the leader of this elephant family and a protective and caring mother. She can be kind of bossy, but she also often has a group of the little ones following her wherever she goes. And she loves to swim.
In 2003, Swazi and her herd were in trouble. Their home in Africa was shrinking because of humans developing the land, and droughts were drying up waterholes and killing the plants the elephants relied on for food. They were eating themselves out of house and home, and they were destroying the area for other wildlife, as well. Wildlife officials decided their only options to protect what remained of the habitat were to kill Swazi and her herd or move them to a zoo that would take care of them.
In Search of a Haven
Some people disagreed with the elephants going to a zoo and protested against it. They even introduced a lawsuit and said in court they would rather see the elephants dead than in a zoo. But dedicated wildlife heroes banded together to save Swazi and her family and made it possible for them to come to San Diego.
A Monumental Move
Moving full-grown elephants from Africa to California was a monumental project! A jumbo cargo plane was arranged, and huge crates were made for the elephants to ride in during their journey.
Animal caretakers went with them and made sure they had food, water, and company. Once they landed in San Diego, a caravan of trucks with a police escort brought Swazi and her herd to their new home at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Home Sweet Home
Since arriving at the Safari Park, Swazi has given birth to Mac and Qinisa. Seven other babies have been born to other mothers in this elephant family. Thanks to you, they are thriving.
Why They Need You
Swazi and her family are doing well, but other elephants are in grave danger. They are losing their homes in the wild because of human development and the results of climate change. They are coming into conflict with people and being attacked. And poachers are killing thousands of them for their ivory tusks, leaving little ones like Qinisa orphaned.
How You Can Help
Use your power as a consumer: don’t buy items made of ivory, and don’t buy wood that destroys African forests. Share your love of elephants and find out more about them.