New elephant coming to Smithsonian National Zoo
WASHINGTON (AP) - An elephant with a talent for painting will be joining the herd at the Smithsonian's National Zoo after her companion died at the Baton Rouge Zoo in Louisiana, the two zoos announced Friday.
Bozie, a 37-year-old Asian elephant, will join three others in Washington. In March, a 46-year-old elephant named Judy died in Baton Rouge, leaving Bozie alone. Elephants are a herd species, so zoo officials say they don't want to leave one alone.
In the past, the Baton Rouge Zoo has auctioned off one of Bozie's paintings to raise money for tsunami relief in Sri Lanka. She was born there around June 1975 and came to the United States in 1976.
The National Zoo recently opened a larger elephant facility after a $56 million overhaul, including a walking trail. The expansion more than tripled the elephants' living space. The zoo plans to triple the size of its herd. The zoo says it can house 10 to 12 elephants.
Bozie is considered beyond her reproductive years. Once she arrives at the National Zoo, she will be quarantined for 30 days, which is standard for any new animal.
Zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson said it's very special for the zoo to receive a new elephant.
Asian elephants are critically endangered in the wild.