Asian elephant Bozie joins National Zoo

Bozie, a 37-year-old female, arrived at the National Zoo late last month. Photo: Smithsonian National Zoo

The Smithsonian National Zoo is welcoming its newest addition - a 37-year-old Asian elephant on loan from Louisiana.

Bozie, who for years lived at the Baton Rouge Zoo, arrived at the National Zoo last month and will be introduced to the public Thursday at 10 a.m.

Her longtime companion in Baton Rouge died this past march, and officials there have been looking for a new home for Bozie ever since. Once she emerges from quarantine, she'll join three other elephants - Ambika, Shanthi and Kandula - in the Zoo's Elephant Trails complex.

Zookeepers say that after Bozie's quarantine period ends, an introduction process will begin that involves only being able to see each other. They'll also take that time to get used to each other's attitude and odor.

"By watching their behavioral cues, we'll be able to determine their comfort level and can move as quickly or slowly as they see fit," National Zoo Elephant Manager Marie Galloway said.

Eventually, the goal is to allow the four elephants to bond and live together, Galloway said. It's not known how long that process could take, though. However, Bozie and Shanthi are not entirely strangers; zookeepers say they briefly lived together in Sri Lanka in their younger days.