Zula and Tanji headed for Elephant Sanctuary - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Zula and Tanji headed for Elephant Sanctuary

January 6, 2004

Dougherty County- Kathi Murray is part of a team that's responsible for keeping Tanji and Zula.

A team that keeps them fed, keeps them healthy and keeps them happy. That's why when these big girls leave for The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Murray won't be giving them up. After 15 years of caring for them here, she'll be going with them to work as a keeper there.

"They'll have two or three hundred acres," Murray said. "They'll get to walk that 18 to 20 miles that an elephant should walk. And it'll give them the greatest chance for that 70 year life span that an elephant should have."

That could be a lot of life left for Zula, 29, and Tanji, 31.

To get to the sanctuary, the two are training to ride in a trailer for the eight hour trip. The trailer usually carries one elephant. But because it was important that the girls travel together, they modified it. Now they'll only be separated by one set of bars.

When they separate from the zoo, they'll leave behind a community and keepers who will be sad to see them go.

"Elephants in captivity need more. It's really as simple as that," said Chehaw Director Glenn Dobrogosz. "And unless someone's willing to fork out millions upon millions of dollars to do it right, we shouldn't be in that business."

So the business at hand these days, is to get Zula and Tanji ready for the big trip. And they won't be going alone.

"They have me by the heart strings," Murray said. "They can get me do to whatever they want me to do. They have me well-trained."

So well-trained, that she'll be the one keeping an eye on them for the rest of their lives.

posted at 11:05 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com

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