Hank makes public debut at Columbus Zoo
Zoo officials he will bring hope for a genetically diverse population of Asian elephants within zoos.
“Hank has previously sired a calf.” said Harry Peachey, Assistant Curator at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. “He was brought to the Columbus Zoo based on a Species Survival Plan recommendation to breed with our females, Connie and Phoebe.”
Peachey added that Hank will be able to be fully introduced soon to the two other elephants.
The zoo held a birthday party for Hank on Monday morning and served him a special “ice cake.”
Hank was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in 1988 and also lived at the Bronx Zoo and in California at Have Trunk Will Travel. He came to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in Arkansas.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s elephant facility has more indoor space than any other North America zoo. Although there is space for more than one bull elephant, seven-year-old Bodhi was moved to the Denver Zoo last month to better position him to one day sire a calf and contribute to the elephant population.
An endangered species, Asian elephants are represented by an estimated 38,000 to 51,000 individuals in range countries. Fragmented wild populations, agriculture, deforestation and conflict with humans pose a constant threat to wild Asian elephants.
“The elephants at the Zoo inspire people to care and take an active role in conservation” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium CEO and President Dale Schmidt. “Their contributions enable the Columbus Zoo to be a leader in conservation. We provide $1 million of privately raised revenue each year to fund field projects and conservation organizations in more than 30 countries.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Story from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium press release. Photo is from Grahm Jones from the zoo).