The Brookfield Zoo has a new addition.
Joyce joins Christy, the elephant who needed a new companion after the sudden death of the zoo's other elephant, Affie, in May. Affie lived at the zoo for 30 years and, at nearly 40, was the fifth oldest African elephant in an accredited North American zoo, a release from the zoo said.
Staff will introduce the elephants in a series of supervised visits as soon as possible --a process which involves Joyce and Christy being rotated on and off exhibit. Once introductions are complete, they will be on exhibit together.
"Elephants are able to communicate at levels that we cannot hear, so I'm sure there's been some levels of there's a 'new elephant in the house' kind of communication," said Kim Smith, the zoo's vice president of animal care. "We haven't allowed a lot of contact because we want to supervise it. We want to make sure this all goes well."
Though Joyce traveled extensively as a circus animal until 2005 and has been accustomed to changing environments, Smith said introducing two elephants is a highly planned process that takes considerable time to allow for adjustments.