A place where elephants can thrive
By Dennis Kelly
Mr. Stroud’s comments were based on a single afternoon visit nearly a year ago. Our scientists, veterinarians, keepers and field researchers are internationally recognized as dedicated leaders in the care of Asian elephants in zoos and in the wild.
Elephants need imaginative spaces for exercise and soft ground for their feet. Today, their indoor barn has rubber and sand flooring, and their outdoor area has about two acres of varied terrain, tall grasses, shade, a pool and mud. When the renovation is complete in 2013, there will be even more space and opportunities for enrichment, for what we ultimately envision as a habitat for a natural herd of elephants.
We are confident that our elephants will thrive in their new home. On Labor Day weekend, our visitors will be invited to see the first phase of the elephant habitat. The main viewing area at the bottom of a hill, as well as from the bridge, will allow visitors to marvel at these magnificent animals and help us contribute to their conservation.
The writer is director of the National Zoo.
elephants, National Zoo, Smithsonian
| August 25, 2010; 11:53 AM ET
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