In 2012, Friends of the Topeka Zoo invested resources to develop a master plan for the Topeka Zoo to not only renew various areas and aspects of the beloved regional attraction but to also add exciting exhibits with broad appeal. As part of this plan, a decision was made to expand the current elephant habitat and create an Elephant Reserve. This three-acre habitat will serve as the new home for the zoo’s current elephants with opportunity to expand to a herd. A large waterfall and pool will provide opportunity for elephants to cool down and splash/spray. It will also create mud wallows that the elephants need to keep their skin cool and moisturized. A variety of enrichment areas will be worked into the plans as well as shade structures that will provide relief from the summer sun.
The indoor habitat will be expanded to accommodate up to six elephants. A large day room will allow guests year round viewing of the elephants. In addition, several new stalls will be built including a birthing area and a space for a bull.
Guests will be able to relate to the elephant’s distinctive personality traits, behavior characteristics, social interactions and daily routines while observing the rapport, trust, affection, and mutual respect they have with their keepers. In contrast to the elephants’ safe spacious home, guests will learn about wild elephants’ struggle for survival and how Africa’s national parks, nature reserves, and zoos around the world are working to protect their future.