Today is African Elephant Thika's 40th Birthday!
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM PAWS Performing Animal Welfare Society
October 18, 2020

Thika and Mara traverse their own hilly habitat, foraging together under broad oak trees. Thika often follows Mara like an eager sibling.

Elephant Thika

What better place to turn 40 than PAWS’ ARK 2000 sanctuary – a place where captive elephants have the opportunity to overcome their often-traumatic pasts and thrive in a more natural environment.

Thika is the only captive-born African elephant at our ARK 2000 sanctuary. She arrived from the Toronto Zoo in October 2013, along with Toka and Iringa (now deceased).

Her life has been marked by loss, including being rejected by her mother, Tequila, shortly after birth – a situation that is unseen in the wild but not uncommon in zoos. Both of her parents died prematurely — Tequila at age 38 and father Tantor at 20 (an elephant’s natural life span is 60-70 years). Thika's only sibling, Tumpe, was transferred to another zoo at age three; she also died prematurely at 26. (Captive breeding is not conservation. No elephants born in captivity will ever be returned to the wild.)

After her arrival at ARK 2000, we sensed that Thika’s life experiences seemed to affect her deeply and that she would need time to ease into her new life. Like all captive born elephants, Thika never got to experience a true elephant family, the chance to roam freely, or to learn normal social skills. All she had known was the dysfunctional life of captivity.

Introducing Thika to a spacious, natural environment where she could roam freely, explore, and forage for fresh vegetation was just one part of her rehabilitation. The other was to pair her with Mara, a confident elephant and strong role model.

Elephants Thika Mara

Today, Thika and Mara traverse their own hilly habitat, foraging together under broad oak trees. Thika often follows Mara like an eager sibling. She appears relaxed and content.

While no one can erase the past for any captive wild animal, we can try to provide them with a far more enriched and fulfilling life.

In honor of Thika’s 40th birthday, please consider making a donation of $40 to care for her and our seven other elephants at PAWS.


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