As some of you may know, the National Zoo's Asian elephants are getting new digs thanks to a major expansion project dubbed Elephant Trails. With Asian elephant populations at dangerously low levels, it's possible that these creatures could disappear within the next 20 years. This new habitat and information center will allow the elephants to live in herds—just as they do in the wild—and include walking trails, heated outdoor spots (because DC winters get a mite chilly) and offer plenty of opportunities for both scientists and tourists alike to observe and learn about these creatures.
Shanthi, the svelte 9,000-pound Sri Lankan native, took a tour of a new yard—complete with pool, the lucky thing. Of course, this is the stuff of a perfect pachyderm photo op and we are more than happy to share some shots.
Phase I of the Elephant Trails compound—which includes an addition to the existing elephant house, two habitat areas, and an elephant exercise path—is slated to open Labor Day weekend, so come on out to see the Zoo's three Asian elephants. To learn more about Elephant Trails and the Zoo's campaign to aid Asian elephants, visit their Web site.