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3 Calgary Zoo elephants moving to Washington, DC

posted 29 Oct 2013, 10:33 by Rob Laidlaw

Female Asian elephants will be relocated to the Smithsonian's National Zoo in the U.S. capital

CBC News Posted: Aug 20, 2013 2:11 PM MT

The Calgary Zoo is sending its remaining elephants to a facility in Washington, D.C.

Next spring Kamala, Swarna and Maharani will head to the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

They will be reunited with a couple of elephants that two of them lived with at an orphanage in Sri Lanka more than 30 years ago.

Donald Moore, an official with Smithsonian's, says they'll be studying them to see if the elephants remember each other and how they'll react.

"We think they'll remember each other, and we are in conversation about how to study that along with some university researchers in psychology and communications," he said. "So it's going to be a very exciting time for these elephants in Washington, D.C."

The zoo announced earlier this summer that its lone male Asian elephant, Spike, will be moved to the Busch Gardens zoo in Tampa, Fla., later this year.

Zoo officials said they did an extensive international search and this accredited facility met their stringent criteria to take care of the three female elephants.

The move was made in the best interest of the animals and not because of recent flood damage to the zoo, according to officials.

The decision to move the animals was made last April because the island that houses the zoo cannot accommodate a large herd, and elephant welfare is better served by being part of a larger social group.