Artie (Aardvark) is a male African savanna elephant born in the wilds of Zimbabwe in 1983. Before the age of one, Artie was orphaned due to a government-sponsored culling. He was captured and brought to the United States in 1984 with a group of 64 young elephants. Known as the “Nautilus Elephants,” this group was part of a plan by Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment, to create his own herd. The plan was soon abandoned, and the surviving elephants were sold. Artie was purchased by a private owner who trained elephants for circuses. Artie spent more than twenty years in performance and exhibition.
In October 2007, Artie and two female African elephants were transferred to the North Carolina Zoo to become a part of the zoo’s herd. In assessing his needs as an aging bull, North Carolina Zoo made the decision to transfer 40-year-old Artie to The Sanctuary to give him the best opportunities for lifetime care and continued socialization.
Artie arrived at The Elephant Sanctuary on January 31, 2023, becoming the 29th resident and The Sanctuary’s first permanent bull elephant. Artie weighs approximately 13,900 pounds and stands 11 feet tall. His most distinguishing features are his prominent cheekbones and thick trunk. Unique for African savanna elephants, Artie does not have tusks; it is believed they were removed sometime before 2007.
Artie has been an active participant in The Sanctuary’s Protected Contact training and with his individualized health care. He is known to be very “talkative” and chortles often, especially for breakfast! Artie can be seen roaming and foraging throughout his habitat, rolling in the mud, and has an enthusiasm for pushing down small hardwoods and pine trees.
Elephant Health Care Center
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