The San Diego Zoo got a new resident Thursday with the arrival of “Mila,” a 41-year-old African elephant from New Zealand’s Franklin Zoo.
Mila arrived in San Diego through collaboration with the Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust, according to zoo officials. Soon enough, she will move into the zoo’s Prebys Elephant Care Center.
For now, zookeepers say she will be in quarantine. Though physically separated from other elephants for now, Mila will be able to communicate with the herd, as well as smell them. Eventually, animal care staffers hope to slowly introduce Mila to the zoo’s other female elephants.
Zoo officials say Mila has been living at the Franklin Zoo in New Zealand since 2009, where she was cared for under a system of positive reinforcement pioneered and developed by San Diego Zoo Global as a system for training elephants.
According to officials, Mila made the move to San Diego because the Franklin Zoo & Wildlife Sanctuary is now permanently closed due to the death of Dr. Helen Schofield, its founder, operator and elephant project manager.
The Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust has found new homes for all 420 of the animals in its care, including Mila.