The Kansas City Zoo will acquire a bull African elephant sometime in October, making possible a future breeding program, zoo officials announced Wednesday.
Tamani, who will soon be 10 years old, now resides at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama with three other males, including his father.
In Kansas City, Tamani will join six female African elephants who are past their reproductive years. But Kansas City Zoo officials hope to acquire younger females in the future.
“This is really important for the zoo,” director Randy Wisthoff told his board Wednesday. “This is really important for elephant conservation. It keeps Kansas City in the elephant business.”
Tamani was born at the Tampa Zoo of artificial insemination. His mother came to the United States from Namibia, making his genes valuable for the diversity of the captive population.
Tamani weighs about 6,000 pounds. Zoo officials say his name means “hope” in Swahili.
The zoo has not had a male elephant since 2003. That year, local legend Casey died at about age 52 and Dale was euthanized after a brief illness.
The zoo’s females range from 30 years old to 47, the second-oldest elephant in an accredited North American zoo.
Tamani will be housed in the bull yard for 30 days before being introduced to the females one by one and eventually will share their 5-acre-plus exhibit. Until then, Tamani will be visible to zoo visitors from the elephant overlook.