San Diego Zoo loans African elephant to Fresno Chaffee Zoo

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Chaffee Zoo welcomed the arrival of its newest member on Friday: an elephant that traveled all the way from San Diego to be a part of the African safari exhibit.

Vus'Musi is in Fresno from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park as part of a loan program. Before setting off on his long drive, handlers there made sure the 7,500-pound animal was comfortable inside his moving crate.

They monitored "Moosey" throughout the entire drive and rewarded him with treats, including watermelon. As he gets used to his new surroundings, his handlers from San Diego will stay with him as he transitions.

"The excitement level here is through the roof, especially now that he's actually here and we're seeing him," said Ashley Coffey of the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. "I had the privilege of going down to San Diego and actually meeting him down there, but the rest of our trainers have only heard about him thus far. So now that he's actually here, we couldn't be happier."

"Moosey" was the first calf born into a herd of elephants relocated from Swaziland to the San Diego Zoo in 2003. His name means "to build a family," and now that he's in Fresno, animal care staff hopes he becomes a father.

In the fall, visitors will be able to see him and his two herd members -- Amy and Betts- -- at the African safari exhibit.
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