August 12, 2020


Aug. 12, 2020

San Diego Zoo Global
Public Relations



World Elephant Day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Kicks Off Kenya Days Celebration

A big celebration got underway this World Elephant Day (Aug. 12, 2020) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as wildlife care specialists raised awareness of the plight of elephants worldwide, kicked off the Safari Park’s Kenya Days celebration set for this weekend (Aug. 14–16) and also celebrated the second birthday of male elephant calf Umzula-zuli, better known as “Zuli.”

World Elephant Day serves to bring attention to the plight of elephants in Africa and Asia. African elephants are currently listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List for Threatened Species and face many threats in their native habitats, including habitat loss and fragmentation, conflicts between humans and elephants, and poaching for their tusks, hide and bushmeat.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is inviting guests to celebrate elephants and other wildlife, along with the people and the landscape of Kenya, during Kenya Days, starting Friday, Aug. 14. Kenya Days will highlight San Diego Zoo Global’s conservation initiatives and partnerships in Kenya, not only to conserve elephant populations, but also other species, such as giraffes, leopards, hirola and vultures.

During this unique three-day event, guests will have the opportunity to purchase special tours that showcase amazing wildlife at the Safari Park, and enjoy special food, beverage and merchandise offerings. The Safari Park also will be accepting donations to fund San Diego Zoo Global’s Kenya Conservation Initiatives. For more information, visit SDZSafariPark.org/Kenya-Days.

The foundation of San Diego Zoo Global’s work in Kenya is to provide core support to communities within the Northern Rangelands Trust, to enhance capacity in wildlife care and conservation science, to sponsor educational opportunities, and to promote stability and self-sufficiency for people who coexist with wildlife.

One key San Diego Zoo Global partnership is with Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, which opened in June 2016 as the first community-run animal orphanage in Africa. Managed by Samburu pastoralists from northern Kenya, the sanctuary rescues, rehabilitates and, whenever possible, returns orphaned or abandoned elephants to the wild. Wildlife care specialists from both the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have gone to the Kenya to share their expertise in animal care and wildlife management with the team in Reteti, including the encouragement of protected contact practices, to better prepare the elephants for future release. To date, 10 elephant orphans from the elephant sanctuary have been released and are thriving in wild habitats. 

To gain a better understanding of elephants, San Diego Zoo Global scientists have been studying their nutrition, daily walking distance, growth and development, and bioacoustic communication. Working with Kenya partners, San Diego Zoo Global also provides funds and training to monitor basic health and has plans to conduct disease surveillance in wildlife at three different Kenya facilities. The organization also works with Kenyan educators to build conservation education into curriculum, to help ensure future conservation success.

To help maintain San Diego Zoo Global’s mission-based programs that are saving species in Kenya, visit SanDiegoZoo.org/Africa. For more details on the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park—now open with new safety and health protocols—including yearly membership options and important information for guests planning their next visit, go to SanDiegoZoo.org/Reopen.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to nine elephants—2-year-old Zuli, 1-year old Mkhaya, three adults, and four other calves and sub-adults of varying ages. Guests can visit Zuli and the rest of the herd at their home in Elephant Valley during Kenya Days or watch them on Elephant Cam by visiting SDZSafariPark.org/Elephant-Cam.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to over 1 billion people annually, reaching 150 countries via social media, our websites and the San Diego Zoo Kids network, in children’s hospitals in 12 countries. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible with support from our incredible donors committed to saving species from the brink of extinction.


Link includes:

  • B-roll of Zuli and the other members of his herd, enjoying browse and other treats during a special World Elephant Day and birthday celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • B-roll of elephants at Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Kenya
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