Elephant Cam

Learn About Elephants    Elephant Blog

Eleven African elephants, born in South Africa's Kruger National Park, were translocated to Swaziland in 1994. When scheduled to be culled, seven were brought to San Diego and four to Lowry Park Zoo in Florida in August 2003. Their numbers have grown, and in March 2012, five of these elephants were moved to the Reid Park Zoo in Arizona to form a new herd. In August 2015, another of the elephants moved to a new home with a herd at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, as part of a breeding loan recommended by the Species Survival Plan program, managed within zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Our 14 current herd members are listed below: 

Mkhaya "Kaia"

Sex: Female
Born: Safari Park, September 26, 2018
September 2018 weight (at birth): 281 pounds
Elephant keepers at the Safari Park received a big surprise when they came in to work on the morning of September 27, 2018 and saw that 28-year-old Umngani had given birth to a healthy 281-pound female calf—the biggest calf ever to be born at the Safari Park (calves usually weigh 200 to 268 pounds at birth). By late morning, with the baby appearing healthy and bonded to her mother, animal care staff offered the pair the opportunity to move into a larger area of the habitat with Umngani's other three offspring: 7-year-old male Inhlonipho or "Neepo", 9-year-old male Ingadze or "Gadze", and 12-year-old female Khosi. The new calf was also introduced to 8-year-old male Emanti and 11-year-old female Phakamile or "Kami". The other elephants appeared very excited to meet the new baby—rushing to her, and touching and smelling her with their trunks, all under the watchful eye of her protective mother.

Umzula-zuli "Zuli"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, August 12, 2018
August 2018 weight (one day after birth): 277 pounds
In the final hours of World Elephant Day at the Safari Park, just before midnight on August 12, 2018, mother Ndulamitsi gave birth to Umzula-zuli, a male calf, called "Zuli." The next day, Zuli was greeted by the herd's other elephants, who gathered around him—eager to touch him, trumpet, and smell him with their trunks. Zuli's father is Mabu, who now lives with a herd at Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona, based on breeding recommendations of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' African Elephant Species Survival Plan. The move, which allows him to interact with other females, is not unlike what bull elephants experience in the wild. Elephants live in a matriarchal society, and males move in and out of herds for breeding purposes.

Swazi "The Fearful Leader"

Sex: Female
Born: Kruger National Park, South Africa, approx. 1991
Weight: 6,800 pounds
Swazi has been the dominant female in the herd since she arrived. Named in honor of Swaziland, she is the now the largest female in the herd. Any ruckus in the herd and Swazi comes charging over to see what’s going on. Swazi gave birth to her first, long-awaited calf—eMacembe, a male—on April 12, 2010, and a female, Qinisa, on August 28, 2012. Keepers suspect that Swazi's vision is not as acute as the other elephants; she is often startled by the less-dominant animals, sometimes even the calves.

Umngani "The Diva"

Sex: Female
Born: Kruger National Park, South Africa, approx. 1990
Weight: 6,250 pounds

Umngani (OOM-gah-nee), whose name means “friend” in Siswati, is the mother of Mkhaya, a new female calf born in September 2018—as well as Khosi, Ingadze, and Inhlonipho. Umngani is sweet natured and seems to love her training sessions, often roaring at the keepers if her session ends too soon. She is also one of our most photogenic females and seems to pose for pictures. Umngani has the longest tusks in the herd, and her ears are often flared out as if she is listening. As beautiful as she is, though, she is also one of the messiest elephants in the herd. You can tell which keepers have been working with her: they are frequently spackled with wet mud from her drippy trunk!

Ndulamitsi "The Sweet One"

Sex: Female
Born: Kruger National Park, South Africa, approx. 1990
Weight: 6,400 pounds
Ndulamitsi is very sweet toward her keepers and often approaches them to solicit a rubdown. She likes to swim and take mud baths to cool down. “Ndula” became the first mom of the herd when she gave birth to Vus’musi; son Lutsandvo was born in 2010. In August 2018, she gave birth to son Umzula-zuli. You can identify Ndula, whose name means “taller than trees” due to her great height, by her right tusk, which curves underneath her trunk.

Msholo "The Fearless One"

Sex: Male
Born: Kruger National Park, South Africa, approx. 1990
Arrived at Safari Park: October 2009
Weight: 10,180 pounds

Msholo (mi-SHOW-low), an African elephant from the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, was one of 11 elephants rescued from a scheduled cull in Africa’s Swaziland in 2003. He came from the Hlane Game Reserve in Swaziland; other elephants from that same reserve now living here are Swazi and Umngani. Msholo was aptly named, as his name translates into “appears from nowhere.” One of the first things we noticed was how quickly and silently he moved. Msholo is eager to learn and is very agile and extremely adept at gathering his own browse from the trees in the yard.

Khosi "The Babysitter"

Sex: Female
Born: Safari Park, September 11, 2006
November 2012 weight: 3,206 pounds

Khosi (KO-see) is the first offspring of Mabu and Umngani. Her name is short for a name that means "heart of a queen" in SiSwati in recognition of Yvonne Larsen, former president of the San Diego Zoo's board of trustees. Khosi's personality is very relaxed, and she likes to watch over all of her younger siblings. This maternal behavior is especially strong with little brothers Ingadze and Inhlonipho, and she babysits whenever possible. Elephants both in the wild and in zoos often rub their tusks against hard surfaces, which sometimes damages them.

Phakamile "Little Gymnast"

Sex: Female
Born: Safari Park, September 19, 2007
November 2012 weight: 2,685 pounds

Phakamile is the daughter of Umoya and Mabu. Her name means "noble strength" to honor the longtime support of Audrey Steele Burnand, whose first name means the same. “Kami” is a great swimmer, is good at balancing on logs or rocks, and has lots of energy. She is also the “class clown,” often swinging her trunk around like a helicopter. Her little trumpet is so distinct that keepers can tell her vocalizations apart from all of the other calves. Kami really enjoys her little half-siblings (she is Qinisa's top babysitter), and is a big sister to full brother Emanti. Kami's right tusk is very short; a tusk injury required a pulpotomy.

Ingadze "The Little Genius"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, March 13, 2009
November 2012 weight: 2,050 pounds

Born to Umngani and Mabu, “Gadze” likes to spar with Luti; they are a well-matched pair. He is a rowdy youngster and smart as well and can be a little rambunctious with the newest calves, including his little brother, Inhlonipho, and has to be told to “play nice” by just about all the females. He also has an older sister, Khosi. Ingadze’s name translates to “garden” to honor the financial contributions of Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and wife Audrey Giesel. Their son's name, Horton, which is also the famous name of the elephant character in Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, translates to “garden” in Latin.

Lutsandvo "Luti"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, February 14, 2010
September 2012 weight: 2,085 pounds

Born on Valentine’s Day, Lutsandvo (loot-SUND-vor), whose name means "love" in the SiSwati language, is the first of our calves to be born in the main yard with the rest of the herd present. Son of Ndula and Mabu, "Luti" is very independent and has quickly learned who it’s safe to hang out with. He “does his own thing” and acts like he owns the place. He gladly throw his weight around when it comes to playing with the other boys, as he has figured out he is bigger and stronger than most of them, and his mother backs him up.

eMacembe LaLu Hlata "Mac"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, April 12, 2010
November 2012 weight: 1,967 pounds

Born to first-time mom Swazi and Mabu, eMacembe (ma-COM-bay) weighed a whopping 268 pounds at birth. He is even more independent than Luti was at his age. Having Mom as the dominant female in the herd has its perks: "Mac" pretty much plays with whomever he wants, and whenever he feels like it. His skin color also appears more gray than any of the other calves. His nickname translates to "leaves," while his full name translates as “green leaves,” in honor of a donor. He is now adjusting to life as a big brother to sister Qinisa and hangs out with Emanti quite a bit.

Emanti "Keepers' Boy"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, May 12, 2010
November 2012 weight: 1,561 pounds

Son of Umoya and Mabu, Emanti was also born in the main yard with most of the herd present. Having full sister Kami around, Emanti has learned that almost every herd member is nice to him, with the occasional exception of Swazi. His name, which means "water," was selected in an online naming poll. Emanti likes water squirted into his mouth from a hose, he doesn’t hesitate going into the pool, and he doesn’t mind having it sprayed all over him. His right tusk was removed in February 2013 after it cracked and became infected.

Inhlonipho "Neepo"

Sex: Male
Born: Safari Park, September 26, 2011
November 2012 weight: 1,000 pounds

Neepo is mother Umngani's third baby. Inhlonipho (pronounced in-low-NEE-po), a SiSwati name that can mean respect, honor, reverence, or good manners, was born in the upper yard of the elephant habitat. His father is Mabu, his big sister is Khosi, and his big brother is Ingadze. He often instigates wrestling matches with the other boys, running to Mom if the play gets too rowdy.


Sex: Female
Born: Safari Park, August 28, 2012
June 2013 weight: 694 pounds

Qinsa is mother Swazi's second calf. Her father is Mabu and her big brother is eMacembe. Qinisa's name is a SiSwati word that means to act with energy, act determinedly, fulfill one’s word, or speak the truth. The name is pronounced (!) EEN-EE-seh (! is a tongue pop instead of a q sound). Her name is very fitting, as she seems determined (successfully) to develop faster than any of our other calves. Watch out, world!

Free! Living Legends - San Diego Zoo 100. Help save wildlife in our newest puzzle game.