Monarto Safari Park

We’re building a forever home for elephants in SA!

Picture the plains of Monarto Safari Park… then walking towards you, three mighty elephants.

The three much-loved Asian Elephants Burma, Permai and Putra Mas, currently live at Auckland and Perth zoos. These three will become founders of a South Australian herd where they will roam at Monarto Safari Park, the largest open-range safari in the region, in a new habitat that meets their complex social structure needs.

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Latest news

April 2024: The herd grows

Asian Elephants Pak Boon and Tang Mo from Taronga Zoo Sydney are standing in side profile. Both elephants have their trunks extended forward foraging for food. An elephant shed is in the background.

In April, we were trumpeting with excitement to announce TWO MORE Asian Elephants are set to join the herd at Monarto Safari Park!

Pak Boon and Tang Mo from Taronga Zoo Sydney are packing up their trunks and following in the footsteps of Burma from Auckland Zoo and Permai and Putra Mas from Perth Zoo.

We were also excited to announce more news about the arrival of the other three Asian Elephants!

Burma, who will transfer from Auckland Zoo looks set to arrive at Monarto Safari Park in October/November 2024 and Permai and Putra Mas from Perth Zoo in mid-2025.

March 2024: Making moves

March marked a major milestone with the major works starting on the Asian Elephant barn!

The old elephant barn and surrounding area was previously used by the Black Rhinos (and before that, Samorn the Asian Elephant)

A new habitat was constructed for the Black Rhino, allowing the barn to undergo a series of upgrades and an extension to bring the elephant barn up to current welfare and husbandry standards.

November 2023: Designing a home

The work now begins on designing a world-class habitat for the three Asian Elephants,

Peter Clark, the Director of Monarto Safari Park, is teaming up with Auckland Zoo’s Elephant team leader Andrew Coers and Perth Zoo’s Manager of Zoology John Lemon to design the 14 hectare habitat.

Andrew and John’s wealth of experience with Asian Elephants will help us create the ideal habitat to support the elephants’ socialisation!


October 2023: The run

On Saturday 21 October 2023, we celebrated both the end of our fundraising campaign, as well as Monarto Safari Park’s 40th birthday with Run Wild. Over 350 dedicated ele-lovers ran, walked and wheelchaired through the park to raise funds to bring Asian Elephants to Monarto Safari Park.

Participants took part in four separate events, ranging from three kilometres up to the full marathon distance of a whopping 42 kilometres. Congratulations go to Luke O’Neill, who led the pack and completed his first ever full marathon with African Painted Dogs, lions and giraffe watching on.

Prizes were awarded to each of our distance winners, as well as the top fundraisers who helped make the event a huge success!

August 2023: The fundraising campaign

Starting in August 2023, 4,773 incredible donors helped us raise over $2.4 million to help home three Asian Elephants. We also had support from over 100 passionate local schools, businesses and community groups.

We are blown away by the support of the elephant and conservation-loving community. A mammoth thank you to each and every one of you who got behind us in helping to home elephants, we couldn’t have done it without you!

The prospect of having elephants at Monarto Safari Park is not only exciting, it’s the right thing to do for these animals.

Rosanna Mangiarelli meets Permai, Putra Mas and Burma

Meet the Elephants


Female | Age: 33

Permai is best known for her mischievous and cheeky personality – she loves to be the centre of attention and she’s known among keepers as a bit of a rascal.

But through her cheekiness, she’s an incredibly loyal and affectionate elephant who loves companionship. She’s also an active gardener and likes to ‘help’ the horticulture team with tree pruning wherever she can – even though they don’t ask for it!

After the loss of matriarch Tricia in 2022, Permai felt deep grief. She leaned heavily on the company of her dedicated keepers, and while she’s regained her spark, she still misses her old elephant friend and the company of other females.

Now, Permai remains the only female elephant at Perth Zoo and she desperately needs a forever home with an elephant herd.



Putra Mas

Male | Age: 33

Putra Mas translates to ‘golden prince’ and he’s certainly earned his namesake! He is as smart as he is cheeky, and he’s quick to vocalise and trumpet away when he’s happy.

Putra Mas has grown into an incredibly strong and remarkably intelligent bull elephant. In fact, his intelligence continues to blow keepers away!

While working with him from a safe distance, keepers say Putra Mas is able to understand new training programs very quickly and with ease. It’s incredible to watch him understand his keepers and play games with them like soccer and relay races.

Putra Mas has also played an important role in the species’ regional breeding program, introducing new and valuable genetics into the pool. In 2018, he sired a calf through artificial insemination, a female born in New South Wales.


Female | Age: 41

Burma was born in 1982 in Myanmar (formerly Burma) where she spent her early years at a logging camp. She came to Auckland Zoo in 1990 at eight years old.

Now 40 years old, Burma has matured into a lovely gentle elephant – still very energetic and playful, but slightly less mischievous!

Auckland Zoo’s older female elephant Kashin became her constant companion until she passed away in 2009.

Asian Elephant Anjalee arrived in 2015 (aged eight) before moving to Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia in March 2022. The two elephants enjoyed a friendship and each other’s company.

Thanks to the skills and dedication of the team at Auckland Zoo to meet Burma’s needs, she is continuing to do well while her team continue to work hard to find her a new forever home with an elephant family herd and environment that will best meet her needs and ensure her future long-term wellbeing.


Pak Boon

Female | Age: 32

Pak Boon is Thai for ‘Morning Glory’ flower, and she was born in 1992. Keepers describe Pak Boon as talkative and energetic and note she enjoys her daily baths. She has a dominant personality and is the top of the hierarchy.

Tang Mo

Female | Age: 24

Tang Mo is Thai for ‘Watermelon’, and she born in 2000. Tang Mo is highly intelligent and is always up for an enrichment challenge and is highly engaged in training sessions. She has a strong bond with the keepers, usually giving a low grumble when they arrive each morning to start the day.


Elephants in the Wild

Animal Facts
Species:Elephas maximus
Conservation Status:Endangered
Found In:East Asia
Length:5.5–6.5 m
Height:2.4-2.7 m
Weight:2.7-4.0 tonnes


50% of Asian Elephants were lost in the last three generations.

It’s estimated that there are less than 52,000 Asian Elephants remaining in the wild, with the world losing 50% of Asian Elephants in the last three generations.

This makes regionally-coordinated conservation programs more critical than ever. A long-term collaborative commitment is crucial to ensuring the species remains for generations to come.

Within Australia, the Asian Elephant regional breeding program has experienced immense success, with eight calves born since 2000, and three calves born in the last 12 months alone.
The establishment of a new group in South Australia will increase capacity within the region, making room for more animals to be born into safe habitats with socially appropriate family structures.


Still want to help out?

If you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time to be part of history.
All donations received will still go towards the Asian Elephant project and contribute to things like a browse plantation for the elephants!

Donate Now

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.

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