Tehama County could be home to an elephant preserve


A group of researchers and philanthropists believe Tehama County would be the perfect place for an elephant preserve.

The hope is for the rural land area to eventually be home to some 50 African elephants.

Tehema County is known to most as a beautiful ranching community, home on the range usually means horses and cows.

But what about the African elephant?

Dr. Joel Parrot, CEO of the Oakland Zoo believes the land is perfect for these giants.

"It is a dream of mine. It is a great opportunity because it has ideal terrain, it has a lot of space and it has ideal climate," said Parrot.

Parrot works with the Ndovo Foundation.

Ndovo, the Swahili word for elephant, is a nonprofit foundation in conjunction with the Oakland Zoo.

Ndovo is in the process of purchasing a 4,900 acre parcel of land known as the Diamond Ranch in rural Tehama County where the elephants can live freely and be studied.

The land is northwest of Bowman Road and 1,400 feet north of Highway 36.

Sean Moore, Tehama County's planning director, said when approached with the project he encouraged the group to reach out to the community groups; such as the Cattlemen's Association, neighbors, schools, and others.

"We thought let's have them get out front with the project and meet with folks," said Moore.

On Tuesday Dr. Parrot gave a presentation of the plan to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors, explaining how the preserve would work.

Nine people from the community also spoke, one opposed it, several had questions, but the vast majority supported the plan.

Dr. Parrot, excited by the news, said the preserve will not only provide a place for elephants to live but it will be educational to the community.

"From kindergarten all the way to college there are just tremendous opportunities for utilizing something like this," explained Parrot.

It could take some 50 to 100 years for the project to be fully complete, however if approved some three to five elephants could be on the land in about three years.

There are still studies to be conducted before it goes before the board of supervisors for approval.

Parrot said he hopes that is in the next year or so.