Media Advisory: National Zoo Celebrates Male Asian Elephant Public Debut Friday


Asian elephant Spike will receive a celebratory cake as he explores his new habitat in the Elephant Community Center at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.


Friday, April 27

10 a.m.


Bryan Amaral, senior curator, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Tony Barthel, curator of Elephant Trails, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Marie Galloway, elephant manager, Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Elephant Community Center

3001 Connecticut Ave. N.W.

Note: Media should park in Bus Parking Lot at 9:30 a.m.

Asian elephant Spike will receive an elephant-friendly frozen treat made by the Zoo’s Department of Nutrition Sciences at 10 a.m. The treat consists of a frozen banana tree trunk filled with carrots, pineapple, mango, papaya and sugar cane, among other treats. Visitors may see Spike on the Zoo’s Elephant Cam beginning April 23 as he starts to explore the Elephant Trails habitat.

The 36-year-old male elephant came to the Zoo March 23 from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida. He received a recommendation to breed with the Zoo’s 27-year-old female elephant, Maharani, from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. During his quarantine period, Spike had access to two stalls inside the elephant barn and one off-exhibit outdoor yard. Based on behavioral cues, the Zoo’s elephant care team will reintroduce Spike to Maharani as well as to females Kamala and Swarna. He previously shared a habitat with all three while at the Calgary Zoo in Canada. Although Spike was not able to physically interact with the Zoo’s female elephants while in quarantine, they have been able to see and communicate with each other.

The Zoo will provide updates on Spike on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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