Jumbo is a well known figure in New Zealand - where she has been the star of a touring circus for 28 years. This has not been without some controversy and finally she has been handed over to the SPCA’s care. She was moved to her new home at Franklin Zoo during the weekend. This 36-year-old African elephant is now one of only two elephants living in New Zealand. The other is an Indian elephant at Auckland Zoo. (They recently lost their other elephant, Kashin. )
Jumbo’s handler and good friend Tony Ratcliffe, who has been with Jumbo for 28 years, visits her every day.
"Jumbo is a middle-aged elephant. Elephants can live upwards of 60 years."
Tony has a strong bond with Jumbo and is the only one who can take her in and out of her truck, where she stays overnight.
"An elephant chooses her friends. Once they do that, they bond for life. You can’t just walk in and out of an elephant’s life."
As you can imagine, Jumbo needs a lot of food - in fact she costs about $200 daily. The SPCA has set up a special fund for the public to support the cost of her care and feeding. Donations can be made to the Jumbo Fund at any SPCA office or via the SPCA website at www.rnzspca.org.nz.