July 15, 2022
It’s July and time to celebrate that African elephant Moki has turned 40 years old! While the average life expectancy for female African elephants is 38, Moki is still looking fabulous. Her most distinguishing feature is her tusks. She has the longest tusks, but if you look closely, you’ll notice her left one is shorter than her right. Elephants can either be “left-tusked” or “right-tusked” just like humans can be right or left handed. Moki is a lefty as it gets worn down more from her scraping bark off of branches and breaking sticks to eat. Not to worry though, tusks continue to grow throughout an elephant’s lifetime.
She joined us in 2015 from Jacksonville Zoo in Florida, but turns out the cold never bothered her anyway! If you visit the zoo during the winter, she is most likely the one outside eating snow or taking a nice winter walk. Of course, Moki also likes to stay cool during the summer by getting really muddy, which also acts as sunscreen and bug repellent. If you’re really lucky, you might even see her taking a dip in the pool if it’s a warm, rainy day!
At 40, Moki definitely knows what she wants, and when she wants it. This makes training really engaging as her body language shows what she’s trying to communicate with you, which is usually that she wants more food! She voluntarily participates in all aspects of her care, which easily allows us to ensure she continues to age gracefully.
Be sure to stop by the zoo this summer and wish Moki a fabulous 40th birthday and if you are here tomorrow (Saturday, July 16th) her keepers will be having a little birthday celebration with at the 12pm elephant enrichment!
– Zoologist Kat Kleinschmidt
*Banner photo by Hanna Kaiser