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National Zoo’s new elephant to make public debut Thursday

Bozie, the National Zoo’s new Asian elephant, will make her public debut Thursday, the zoo said Wednesday.

The 7,500-pound elephant, who was shipped by truck last month from the zoo in Baton Rouge, has been in quarantine since then to make sure she was free of disease.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo now has four Asian elephants: three females — Bozie, 37; Ambika, 65; and Shanthi, 38; and Kandula, 11, a male.

It also has a roomy state-of-the-art elephant complex with an indoor recreation center, a 5,700-square-foot barn and a quarter-mile walkway through woods. The zoo says it can accommodate up to a dozen elephants, and it has been working to build its herd.

“Bozie has successfully been introduced to our two other female elephants . . . and is ready to make her public debut,” the zoo said in a statement. “All three female elephants will be in the Elephant Community Center when it opens tomorrow at 10 a.m.”

Bozie was sent from Baton Rouge, where she had lived for 16 years, after her companion elephant, Judy, died in April. Zoo officials have said it is not healthy for elephants to be alone.

The zoo said eventually it would like to breed Bozie with Kandula.

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.

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