Spike, the National Zoo’s Newest Elephant, Makes His Public Debut

The 13,000-pound male elephant who traveled 900 miles to his new home at D.C.'s National Zoo made his public debut Friday.

Spike, a 36-year-old Asian elephant, relocated from Tampa Bay last month and has been off-exhibit in quarantine since his arrival.

On Friday, he celebrated his debut by munching on an elephant-friendly frozen treat made of frozen banana tree trunk and filled with carrots, pineapple, mango, papaya and sugar cane.

If you can't make to the zoo, you can catch a glimpse of Spike on the zoo's live camera.

"His personality is very laid back and chill," the zoo said on their website. "He is not fazed by the bustle of keepers around him. He is the epitome of a gentle giant."

As he awaited his public debut, Spike kept busy by playing with a large tractor tire he can push and wheel around. So far, the zoo says Spike's favorite snack is a small log covered in frozen peanut butter.

Spike wasn't a stranger to three of the zoo's other elephants. He previously lived with Maharani, Kamala and Swarna at the Calgary Zoo in Canada; now all four are together in D.C.

Maharani and Swarna seemed very excited to see Spike again, raising their trunks in the air, smelling his scent, the zoo said.

"They were flapping their ears excitedly -- we call that behavior 'happy flappy ears!'" a keeper said in a release.

Kamala showed interest at first, but then quickly went on with her business, according to the zoo.

Keepers are hoping Spike will mate again with Maharani, a 27-year-old female. The two have bred in the past, but two calves did not survive until adulthood and a third was stillborn, the zoo said.

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