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In what will likely be the biggest D.C. animal news of the day, the National Zoo announced it would welcome three new female elephants in the spring, bringing its total elephant population to seven.
The elephants, on loan from the Calgary Zoo in Calgary, Alberta, Canada—-which said it is relocating the elephants to better suit the animals’ long-term needs—-originally hail from Asia.
The two elder elephants, Kamala and Swarna, were born in the wild around 1975 and were brought to the Calgary Zoo from an orphanage in Sri Lanka in 1976. The third elephant, Maharani, Kamala’s daughter, was born at the zoo in 1990.
D.C. philanthropist David Rubenstein donated $2 million to help bring the animals to the National Zoo. His donation, in part, covers transportation for the elephants, training, and travel for the elephants’ keepers, health care, and facility upgrades.
Photo courtesy of Bill Quayle, Calgary Zoo