Bozie, a 37-year-old female Asian elephant, made her debut in the Elephant Community Center today. She arrived at the Zoo on May 22 and spent 30 days in quarantine per standard procedure. Introductions between Bozie and her two female companions—Ambika (65) and Shanthi (38)—continue to go well, according to Elephant Trails Curator Tony Barthel. Once Bozie cleared quarantine June 21, she, Ambika and Shanthi were given visual access to one another. They soon became familiar with one another's smell, looks and temperament. Based on the elephants' behavioral cues, keepers determined that the elephants were ready for visual and tactile access through a barrier. This introduction took place June 24 and was also a positive experience. On June 25, animal care staff gave the elephants the opportunity to spend time together in the same enclosure.
To follow the elephants' progress, check for news on the Zoo's Twitter feed and Facebook page. Visitors can see Bozie, Ambika, Shanthi together, and also 11-year-old male Kandula, on exhibit at Elephant Trails.
Photo credit: Abby Wood, Smithsonian's National Zoo