Mila Update

Mila in her habitat

Thank you to everyone regarding your queries about Mila.  Franklin Zoo has taken great care of Mila who came to us less than four years ago when she was retired from the circus.  In the years since she has arrived, Mila has undergone extensive rehabilitation where she has learned to make her own choices, built confidence, and develop stronger muscles and increased fitness.   Mila has been a lone elephant since she was four years old and sold to a circus for New Zealand timber.

Franklin Zoo was asked to take Mila by Loritz Circus, because no other facility in Australasia would, and secure her future with other elephants.  Since Mila’s arrival in late 2009, Franklin Zoo and its supporters are the only ones to fund the care and rehabilitation of Mila.   The people of the Franklin District are tireless in their endeavours to care for Mila bringing her fresh browse every day, hay, tyres and toys to play with and donating work to improve her enclosure and her daily life.  Thanks to all the wonderful trustees, volunteers, staff and supporters (including many companies) who have contributed so much time, energy, and expertise to assist us in providing Mila with an environment that can provide everything she needs, except the company of other elephants.
There are no other African elephants in New Zealand, so Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust enlisted the assistance of an elephant specialist in order to determine the best possible future for Mila.  Mila will be traveling to the US in order to live with other elephants.
Erin Ivory has worked with Mila since December of 2012.  In that time, she has built a strong relationship with Mila based on trust established using solely positive reinforcement techniques.  Mila has learned to voluntarily participate in her own health care, as well as behaviours necessary for her big move to the US.  Erin has also trained 3 other carers how to work with Mila.  This is the first time in Mila’s life she has a team of 4 dedicated individuals keeping her busy and caring for her 14 hours every single day, 7 days a week.  Mila is extremely fit and mentally she is doing very well.
We have been so thankful for all of the support given to us from Auckland Zoo, Zoological & Aquarium Association of Australasia, and MPI (MAF) to achieve the successful rehoming of all our animals.
Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust is the only organisation to fund Mila’s care. We have received no financial assistance from RNZSPCA or SAFE in order to care for Mila and provide for her future, which includes a plane ride to the US.  This funding has come solely from Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust, supported by the people of NZ donating their hard earned money to ensure her best care and future.
We at Franklin Zoo take our responsibility to Mila very seriously and work tirelessly to ensure she has everything she needs while we are waiting for her import permit into America.