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Get To Know Our Elephants

Stephanie and Cinda are both South African Bush Elephants. The girls came to Sedgwick County Zoo in 1972 when they were approximately two years old.

Stephanie & Cinda

Stephanie, although the smaller of the two, has always been the dominant elephant. She is generally the first to enter or leave the outdoor yard and gets first choice of food. Stephanie seems to respond to tactile praise more than food rewards. Stephanie's favorite food item seems to be carrots as she will occasionally leave bananas, oranges and white potatoes behind. She also seems to enjoy walking backwards.

Cinda is taller than Stephanie but has always been the submissive elephant of the two. She generally follows Stephanie when the elephants are called, allowing Stephanie to survey different situations first. Cinda enjoys food rewards and almost seems to rush through training so she can eat. Cinda spends more time than Stephanie using the exhibit pool and toys. Cinda doesn't really have any favorite food items as she enjoys eating everything.

Why was a fence constructed?

Stephanie and Cinda aren’t spring chickens, both elephants are in their 40's.  According to a study published in the journal “Zoo Biology” by Dr. Robert Wiese and Kevin Willis, female African elephants’ median life expectancy is 33 years. Just as humans get a little slower, a little less nimble and a little less flexible as we age, so can elephants. Regular exercise helps keep Stephanie and Cinda in the best shape possible.

If you’ve ever seen the girls stretch across the dry moat, balancing ever so delicately to reach the greenest of grasses on the other side, you were probably in awe of this amazing balancing act. However, with each passing day and year this balancing act becomes more nerve-racking for our Zookeepers. All it would take is one misstep and we could have a dangerous situation for our elephants. Helping the elephants out of a dangerous situation could also put our staff at risk. Therefore, the decision was made to install a post and cable system to keep Stephanie and Cinda from stretching beyond their limits. This post and cable system might not be pretty; however, this is in the best interest of our elephants and the care and safety of our animals is one of our top priorities.

Expert Elephant Care

The elephants at Sedgwick County Zoo have a high quality of life and are provided excellent nutrition, excercise, professional veterinary care and environmental enrichment. They are cared for by a dedicated team of elephant-care experts and board-certified veterinarians with more then 100 combined years of elephant care and management experience.

Dedicated to Elephants

Sedgwick County Zoo is dedicated to the care of its elephants and the protection of wild elephants. As part of our conservation mission, we support the International Elephant Foundation. Over 90% of this foundation's money goes to support conservation, education, and research projects that help wild elephants and provide improvements for the elephants in human care.

Elephants in Our Future

Its A Big Deal

We look forward to relocating the elephants between Pride of the Plains and The Downing Gorilla Forest. The exhibit will be constructed on 4.75 acres. A 1,200-foot pathway will give elephants access to indoor areas and additional outdoor acreage.

This new elephant area could include:

  • the world's first walk-through elephant exhibit by way of bridges and tunnels
  • hidden containment allowing for unobstructed views
  • shade structures along the path providing comfort for elephants and Zoo guests

The Domino Effect - African Veldt

Once the elephants move to their new home, the African Veldt will undergo a major renovation. Animals located in this area include: hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, rhinoceros, zebra, giraffe, crane and other African birds.

Why Zoos Matter

Every day someone sees and smells or perhaps touches an elephant, they gain a greater understanding of the animal he or she has known only from picture books and videos. We love elephants and we want others to care for them as much as we do.


If people are to care about preserving elephants and their habitat, they need to learn about and understand them. Zoos provide a powerful venue to make this happen. When people learn about elephants they discover that their actions do matter. Elephants need zoos. Zoo studies on elephant biology and behavior would be challenging and in some cases impossible, in the field. Working with populations in zoos has a positive effect on conservation, and the information gathered is relevant to helping and understanding wild populations.

Your Actions Matter

Show your dedication to Sedgwick County Zoo and our elephants.

  • Become a Zoo Pal - adopt an elephant.
  • Focus your next school project on elephants.
  • Read a great book or wildlife magazine article on elephants.
  • Round up for Conservation - next time you're in the gift shop round up your purchase to the nearest dollar to help us support conservation efforts in the wild.
  • Volunteer.
  • Participate in one of our learning adventures about elephants.
  • Speak up for elephants; let your friends & family know how much you care about the work being done by Sedgwick County Zoo and other AZA accredited Zoos.
  • Purchase elephant "Poo Paper" from the Zoo gift shop.
  • Help us teach children about the complex social lives of elephants and the important role Zoos play.
  • Become a member of Sedgwick County Zoo
  • Make a donation to Sedgwick County Zoo

Thanks in advance for your support. Together we can make a difference.


Marketing / PR Manager:  
Sedgwick County Zoo
5555 Zoo Boulevard
Wichita, KS 67212
t: (316) 660-9453
Complete Master Plan download pdf
Big & Small We Care For Them All download pdf
Hours of Operation
Summer Hours8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Beginning March 1)
Winter Hours10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
(Beginning November 1)
Open 364 Days a Year!*
*The Zoo will be closed one day only, September 6, 2014 to facilitate the preparation of the annual Zoo fundraiser, Zoobilee. For Zoobilee ticket information please call 266-8APE (8273).