SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Attendance records are possible this summer at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo credited to the ongoing popularity of baby twin elephants Yaad and Tukada.
On this week’s edition of Newsmakers, Zoo Director Ted Fox said over 42,000 people entered the gates during the two weeks of spring break. Memorial Day weekend brought in almost three thousand people per day.
Growing as quickly as the attendance are the baby elephants. Each is more than 560 pounds.
As they grow, the conversation has begun about what might be their permanent home.
It’s normal for adult male elephants to be moved.
Fox explained: “We want to follow the natural structure of elephant society as closely as we can, which means when the bull calves are five or six years old, they would start to create their own social groups.”
The zoo in Denver is a possible next home, which is where the twins’ older brother lives.
But there’s hope both Yaad and Tukada can stay in Syracuse.
“They’ve become so popular in this community,” said Fox. “We don’t really want to see them go. It’s not that they have to. It’s that we don’t have a lot of space. We have talked about expansion at the elephant preserve area.”
That project would require funding, so the Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo would have to engage in a donation campaign if that’s the ultimate goal.
Micron, which inspired the twins’ names and funded a free day at the zoo last winter, has already expressed interest in helping.
While NewsChannel 9 reported from Boise, Chief People Officer April Arnzen said, “I can’t wait to see them in 10 and 20 years, and we’re going to do all we can to keep them there.”