Jana Elephant has arrived in Hohenwald

Tina RolenOur Town Outdoors

Jana, a 42-year-old female African elephant, has arrived at her new home in Hohenwald, Tennessee. She was the first of Zoo Knoxville’s herd to make the move to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee as part of the care plan to ensure companionship for the remainder of her life.

Jana’s crate is lifted onto a flatbed truck for the trip to Holhenwald.

All three of Zoo Knoxville’s elephants are senior citizens by elephant standards. Zoo Knoxville made the decision to transfer their three elephants-Jana (pronounced JOHN-uh), Edie and Tonka-to the care of their Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) colleagues at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee after carefully considering what is needed for their wellbeing at this stage of their lives. Realizing that Knoxville’s herd will be facing inevitable losses soon, the move to Hohenwald to join a larger group of elephants assures each of them the companionship they are accustomed to for the remainder of their lives.

Zoo Knoxville and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee are both accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), assuring the continuation of the highest standard of care for them.


The trip is 5 hours from Knoxville. Holhenwald is a 2-hour drive from Nashville.

“It was an emotional moment watching Jana’s departure,” said Lisa New, Zoo Knoxville president and CEO. “She is beloved and we will miss her greatly, but we have honored our commitment to Jana to ensure her wellbeing and care through every stage of her life. We all look forward to watching her continue to thrive under the care of our colleagues at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.”

Jana will be reunited with long-time companions Edie, a 39-year-old female and Tonka, a 45-year-old male, in the coming months. Zoo Knoxville’s elephant caretakers are currently training Edie to voluntarily enter and stand in a travel crate with positive reinforcement. Edie will make the next move to Hohenwald and be followed later in 2023 by Tonka.

Tina Rolen is director of marketing and communications at Zoo Knoxville.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *