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Elephants from Canada take up residence in US zoo

24 may 2014, 16:50
0
©Reuters/Thomas Mukoya
©Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Three female Asian elephants took up residence at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington on Friday after a 2,500-mile (4,000-kilometer) road trip from western Canada, AFP reports.

Sri Lanka-born Kamala and Swarna, both 39, and Kamala's Canadian-born daughter Maharani, 23, are joining the National Zoo's own four elephants after a week traversing North America in two trucks accompanied by zookeepers and veterinarians.

"It's going to be very exciting to see the two herds get to know each other and form a new herd here," National Zoo elephant curator Tony Barthel said in a statement.

The Calgary Zoo in Alberta announced in 2012 that it wanted to relocate its elephants, citing the city's cold climate, an inability to expand and a desire to see them live in a bigger herd.

Records indicate that Kamala and Swarna lived for a time at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka with two of the elephants already at the National Zoo.

But the zoo -- home to a $56 million special facility for endangered Asian elephants -- said there was "no way to definitively determine" if they would recognize each other.

Now in quarantine for 30 days as they adapt to their new surroundings, the immigrant pachyderms can be seen on the National Zoo's "elephant cam" at nationalzoo.si.edu.


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