East Texas welcomes two 5,000 pound ‘children’ from a San Diego Zoo: Mac and Emanti

KLTV 6 p.m. M-F, Recurring - VOD - clipped version

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Did you know that the female elephant leads the herd?

Experts say mothers typically push males out of the herd at a certain stage of their life, and that was the case for 9-year-old brothers, Emanti and Mac.

“The boys are eventually kicked out of the herd and they become solo artists or become a bachelor herd,” Curtis Lehman says.

Curtis Lehman is the elephant care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Lehman is in charge of 12 elephants in California and saw the Caldwell Zoo as a perfect place for two of their African elephants.

“Tyler, Texas has a similar climate and warmth; we also had to make sure the training was similar,” Lehman says.

The Caldwell Zoo is already home to an elephant, which helps make this an easy transition.

“We’ll provide them with different puzzles so that they can forage just like they do in the wild. That’s our goal, to keep it as natural as possible,” Caldwell Zoo Executive Director Hayes Caldwell says.

After a brief quarantine period, the two boys were introduced to a longtime Caldwell resident, 42-year-old Tonya.

“She’s accepted them quite well, but she will definitely be the matriarch of this group,” Caldwell says.

Emanti and Mac are only 5,000 pounds right now, around the age of 27 they’ll grow to be close to 13,000 pounds, with a life expectancy of 50 years.

The elephants’ previous caretakers from San Diego will visit the animals several times over the next year to make sure they are adjusting to their new home.

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