Our Elephants

They’re big, they eat a LOT, they VERY intelligent and therefore have the ability to be VERY dangerous yet VERY loving when handled humanely.  Our elephants have come to us from all walks of the entertainment industry to retire and live out their lives as a part of our Non-Profit elephant program. They spend their days in a multi-species exhibit which is very unique. They currently share their yard with zebra and water buffalo. Their interaction with each other is both inspiring and educational.

Butch and Buffy originally belonged to a company in Florida that participated in fairs and carnivals. They spent their days giving rides to children. When the company closed its doors, Butch and Buffy were no longer needed. They have since become icons of Monterey Zoo.

African Elephant (Loxodonta Africana)

The African elephant is the largest animal walking the Earth.

African elephants are highly intelligent, exhibiting a wide variety of behaviors including those associated with grief, learning and sense of humor. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa. There are two subspecies of African elephants—the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant. Savanna elephants are larger than forest elephants, and their tusks curve outwards. In addition to being smaller, forest elephants are darker and their tusks are straighter and point downward.


Elephants eat roots, grasses, fruit, and bark, and they eat a lot of these things. An adult elephant can consume up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of food in a single day. These hungry animals do not sleep much, and they roam over great distances while foraging for the large quantities of food that they require to sustain their massive bodies.


Height: 11 feet (average)
Mass: 13,000 pounds (African bush), 6.000 pounds (African forest)
Lifespan: 60 to 70 years

Conservation Status

Sadly humans pose by far the greatest threat to the African elephant. They have suffered from intensive hunting for the ivory of their tusks and as trophies. Many efforts have been made to outlaw hunting elephants for their tusks, but poaching still occurs on a regular basis. It is thought that from 1930-1940 there were 3 to 5 million African elephants roaming the continent. Now in Western Africa elephant populations are counted in the tens or hundreds.

Did you know?

The elephant’s brain is similar to that of humans in terms of structure and complexity. For example, the elephant’s corex has as many neurons as that of a human brain.

Our Animals


Open 10am-3pm Every Day. (Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day)

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$35.25 ages 15 and up
$25 ages 2-14 (under 2 free – $8 stroller fee)

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Enjoy the Zoo year-round!
Individual and Family Plans Available
Starting at only $110

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While providing exemplary animal care, Monterey Zoological Society is dedicated to providing an entertaining yet educational and conservation minded experience which fosters public awareness and respect for all wildlife.

Vision Quest Ranch

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400 River Road, Salinas, CA 93908 Phone: 831-455-1901