Category: pakaderms


This last weekend, the Henry Doorly Zoo lost one of it’s long time residents.  Maliaka, the 47-year-old African elephant died somewhat unexpectantly.    It was reported that zoo keepers found her laying on her side in the morning and died just a few hours later. 

Maliaka on the left side of image.

This photo was taken back in 2008.   Maliaka is the one on the left side of the Photo.  She came to the zoo when only 3 years old.  So, she had been a member of the zoo family for many years.  Though she leaves us with a sad note of loss for the zoo and all of us zoo members, a ray of sunshine is the plans to expand the pachyderm exhibit to someday hold up to six of these beautiful and majestic animals.  And this hold the promise that the Zoo will be able to continue it’s efforts in maintaining breeding programs for endangered or at risk groups of animals. 

As African Elephants can live to be up to 70 years of age, sadly Maliaka left us perhaps a little too early, but non-the-less, she did share many years with all of us return visitors.  She will be missed.

   Have you heard the news?  The Henry Doorly Zoo is expanding.  For many years the Zoo has lived next to another landmark of Omaha.  The Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the “College World Series” has been an icon for college baseball and minor league baseball for longer than I have lived here.  The stadium was built back in 1947 and became home to the College World Series back in 1964.  That’s a long time to build a history around.

   Now for the bad news.  The Rosenblatt Stadium will play its last games this year.  After which, the games will move to a new stadium located closer to the Omaha downtown area.  After all these years, it is somewhat a sad epitaph that the stadium will be-no-more.  But, as in life, out of the ashes of the old, new life will be born.

   Now for the good news.   On the location of the past Rosenblatt Stadium, will grow new spaces of growth for the Henry Doorly Zoo.  What will be done with the new acreage?  To start, the zoo has already announced some of their expansion plans.  Currently the Pakaderm exhibit only has two female elephants.  The plan is to expand their living space and add up to four more elephants to provide us with a chance to view more natural interaction between what could be then considered the herd! 

  The Zoo has had one of the largest groupings of large cats to be found anywhere, but perhaps in the wild.  The zoo has over the years, had a very successful breeding program which has resulted in many success stories in keeping rare cats from extinction.  The buildings in which all this fine work has been done, resulted in a concentration of animals which though perhaps easy to view in as few steps as possible, does not provide a setting in which the animals have space to act a little more naturally.   Though planning is still in the works, it will be very interesting to see what the new space will look like.

  Once again, the Henry Doorly Zoo is in the process of changing itself to become ever more interesting to all who venture within its gates.  Though only a member of the zoo via a paid annual membership, I am proud to be a supporter of an organization which realises that everything changes and we like everything else need to be able to change along with it.  So, if you have not been to the zoo because you were there a number of years ago and thought you had seen it all.  How wrong you are.  Some of what was is still there to be enjoyed.  But, there is so much more that is new and yet to be seen.  I for one, keep coming back, to be amazed at all I have previously missed and to enjoy not just what has been, but what is metamorphosing  just as the Butterflies, that are hatching in the Butterfly Pavilion.

   As it has done so many times over the years.  The Zoo is new again!