It’s a symbol of a solid, loving bond between African elephants — intertwining their massive trunks in a gentle hug.
Our “Golden Girls” greet our matriarch elephant, Mama, this way often. Gypsy and Jenny especially love to wrap their trunks around hers after they’ve reunited. Whether five minutes have passed or possibly a whole day, it’s their special way of saying, “Hey, I missed you and I respect you.”
This affectionate symbol will be the theme of a new art piece joining our iconic 67-foot-tall giraffe statue near the front entrance of the Zoo. As part of the City of Dallas Public Art Program, the new $262,000 piece will consist of two larger-than-life, freestanding elephant sculptures made of galvanized, welded steel rods.
The artwork will be made by artist Peter Busby from Cornwall Bridge, Conn. Busby’s design was selected in November by a panel of judges with the Office of Cultural Affairs.
Doug Dykman, vice president of facilities and sustainability programs at the Zoo, helped judge the finalists’ conceptual presentations and says Busby’s captured his interest most.
“Elephants are among the species at the heart of the Dallas Zoo’s conservation efforts for wildlife preservation,” Dykman said. “Busby thoroughly researched animal behaviors, and his elephant concept illustrates their natural greeting beautifully. Along with our existing giraffe statue, the sculpture will provide a gateway and welcome for our guests with representations of two iconic animals prominently featured in our acclaimed Giants of the Savanna exhibit.”
The sculpture is expected to be installed by fall 2016.