African elephant interacting with enrichment toy.


At A Glance

  • Conservation Status: Endangered
  • Location: Elephant Odyssey
  • ZOO ZONE: Elephant Odyssey

    At first glance, African elephants look similar to Asian elephants, but they are different species that live in different parts of the world. Yet in Elephant Odyssey, you can see both species! How to tell them apart? African elephants have very large ears that are shaped like the continent of Africa, while Asian elephants have smaller ears. Also, an Asian elephant's back is rounded, but an African elephant's back has a dip or sway in it. Their trunks are a little different, too: African elephants have two “fingers” at the end of their trunk; Asian elephants have one. Asian elephants are categorized as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and African elephants are Vulnerable. 

    A wonderful feature of Elephant Odyssey is our Elephant Care Center, where you may watch keepers scrubbing an elephant’s foot or observe a training session. It’s a great place to chat with our keepers, too. Be sure to check out the life-size statues of wooly mammoths for some great photo ops!

    Plush-crested Jay in the Zoo's Parker Aviary

    The Brainy Bunch

    Meet Some Smart Birds
    Mother polar bear with cub.

    Tracking Polar Bears...and More!

    Keeping Tabs in the Wild
    Young brother and sister, mother and father wearing matching San Diego Zoo t-shirts.


    Hotel with pool
    Creature Comforts