The Exotics

When I was 17/18 I got my first job. This job just so happened to be in the elephant department at the local free-range zoo. At that time the park had three gorgeous, amazing African Elephants that touched me like I never thought possible.

Tiki was born in 1970 in the wilds of South Africa. At the age of 1 she was captured and transported to the United States, finally ending up at the Wildlife Safari at the age of 4. For 36 years she has been an ambassador, a performing artist (or so Tiki thought after being in the Opera, along with learning to play the drums and harmonica), a matriarch, a great friend, a teacher, a student, and quite possibly the gentlest elephant to ever be seen in captivity. Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Tiki took her last breath. I will never forget the lessons she taught me, and I'm sure the millions of people that have grown to love elephants through her will all mourn to some extent as they learn of her death. Tiki, we will love and miss you always.
Alice was also born in 1970 in the wilds of South Africa. Also arriving in the United States at 1 year of age and finally the Safari at 4. Her and Tiki were best friends and Alice relied heavily on Tiki since Tiki was such a rock. A nervous, yet very sweet, elephant Alice seemed like almost like an anxious sister, sticking by Tiki as much as possible. My one hope is that Alice far outlives Tiki and we'll get to enjoy her presence at the park for many years to come.
George, where to begin. He's 12 (I believe) years younger than the girls and is the one of the oldest castrated bull elephants. He's a character with red hair on the top of his head and only one tusk. His eyes seem to glint with mischief but also with a deep, deep soul. An amazing creature, he's definitely one to never be forgotten.