Perth Zoo prepares to move elephants once matriarch Tricia dies

Permai and Tricia with elephant keeper Steve Edmunds. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Permai and Tricia with elephant keeper Steve Edmunds. Picture: Martin Kennealey

A FAVOURITE Perth Zoo attraction will find a new home once a beloved matriarch dies.

It was announced today, on the Perth Zoo’s 120th anniversary, that the remaining elephants will be moved to new homes after Tricia passes away.

Although there is no immediate concern for the 61-year-old Asian elephant’s health, according to Perth Zoo veterinary staff, she’s feeling age-related aches and pains.

Tricia at her last birthday.

Once Tricia dies, male elephant Putra Mas and female Permai, will be moved to other zoos for their own wellbeing.

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said Putra Mas was a highly valuable male for reproductive purposes and he would greatly benefit by being closer to ovulating females in other zoos.

“Planning for the future of the zoo has begun, but today is about asking the community, the people of Western Australia, to help shape the future direction of Perth Zoo,” he said.

“Moving on from elephants is in the best interests of the two remaining elephants, male Putra Mas and female, Permai.

“Tricia is an elderly elephant, and while it’s difficult to imagine a time without her at the zoo, the reality is the zoo has changed significantly over the past 120 years, and it’s time to transform again.”

Mr Dawson said Perth Zoo was committed to providing the best for the animals in its care, however, the site could not be developed to include an elephant exhibit big enough to accommodate a functioning herd of multiple elephants.

“At the moment, the elephants at Perth Zoo are happy and healthy, but when Tricia dies the elephants will be best placed to become part of a bigger herd, something we cannot facilitate at a small metropolitan zoo,” he said.

“I look forward to taking this journey with all of you.

“Perth Zoo belongs to all Western Australians and planning for the future presents an exciting opportunity to get involved.”

Mr Dawson said elephants were herd animals and for the health and wellbeing of Putra Mas and Permai, they’d be moved to zoos in Australiasia big enough to accommodate herds.