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New elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo have names

Sedgwick County Zoo elephants now have names

See the names and photographs of the six new elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo. They range in ages 6-20 years old. (April 8, 2016, video by Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle)
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See the names and photographs of the six new elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo. They range in ages 6-20 years old. (April 8, 2016, video by Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle)

The six new elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo now have names.

They will be called Simunye, Titan, Arusi, Zuberi, Xolani and Talia. The names were chosen by the elephants’ new keepers.

See the names and photographs of the six new elephants at the Sedgwick County Zoo. They range in ages 6-20 years old. (April 8, 2016, video by Jaime Green/The Wichita Eagle)

“They tried to stick to African names,” said Sedgwick County spokeswoman Melissa Graham. The elephants were shipped from Swaziland in southeast Africa to the United States last month.

The zoo is doing genetic testing to confirm some familial connections they suspect based on information from wildlife officials from Swaziland.

“We want to make sure before we make an announcement,” Graham said.

But they know for certain that the oldest elephant is a mother to a male elephant.

Here are the six new zoo residents, according to a zoo news release:

▪ Simunye (pronounced sim-un-ya): An 18- to 20-year-old female whose name means “we are one.”

▪ Titan: A 6- to 7-year-old male whose name means “defender.” He’s the son of Simunye.

▪ Arusi (uh-ROO-see): A 6- to 7-year-old female elephant whose name means “the sun” or “born at the wedding time.”

▪ Zuberi (zuw-Beh-Riy): A 7- to 8-year-old female whose name means “strong.”

▪ Xolani (zo-Lani): A 6- to 7-year old female whose name means “peace.”

▪ Talia (ta-lia): A 6- to 7-year old female whose name means “dew of heaven.”

Graham said the elephants have been adjusting well to their new home.

“We’ve been keeping an eye for that and at this point, everything seems to be going very, very smoothly,” Graham said.

The elephants arrived from the airport on March 11 after they were flown from Swaziland during a court fight over the transfer.

Six elephants from Swaziland arrived at Sedgwick County Zoo Friday afternoon to cheers from those on hand for the arrival. The elephants are among 17 that arrived in Dallas on a 747 shortly after midnight Friday and the Wichita Eisenhower Airport

Six elephants from Swaziland destined for the Sedgwick County Zoo arrived in a 747 at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport at 12:31 p.m. Friday.

The new elephants have been slowly introduced to Stephanie, the zoo’s longtime elephant. Graham said they’ve “had trunk-to-trunk contact but that’s about it at this point.”

Members of the Sedgwick County Zoo can get a sneak preview of the Elephants of the Zambezi River Valley exhibit from May 11 through May 13. The tour will go throughout the exhibit and to the elephant barn.

“We’re hoping that the elephants will be out in the yards so there won’t be a ton to see in the barn,” Graham said. “It’s not like a special guided tour or anything. You’ll meander at your own pace.”

The grand opening ceremony for the new elephant exhibit is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. May 27, which is the start of Memorial Day weekend.

Ryan Gulker, deputy director of the Sedgwick County Zoo, gets emotional when asked about the six new Swazi elephants that arrived Friday. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

Six elephants from Swaziland destined for the Sedgwick County Zoo arrived in a 747 at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport at 12:31 p.m. March 11, 2016. After arriving at the airport, the elephants will be taken to the Zoo in crates that will be lo

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