New Elephants Make Debut at National Zoo

Three new Asian elephants made their public debut at the National Zoo Monday.

The female elephants arrived in May from the Calgary Zoo in Canada. They have been in quarantine for 30 days and joined the zoo's existing herd of four elephants on Monday.

The new elephants include 39-year-old Kamala, 39-year-old Swarna and 23-year-old Maharani, who is Kamala's second calf. Kamala and Swarna were born in the wild in Sri Lanka around 1975.

Zookeepers opened the doors to the larger exhibit space around 9:30 a.m. and called the elephants by name to encourage them to come out and explore their new home.

Records show that Kamala and Swarna lived with two of the zoo's existing elephants, Bozie and Shanthi, at an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka for a time. Zoo keepers say there's no way to know if they will recognize each other.

Asian elephants are endangered in the wild.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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