DENVER (CBS4) — Two Asian elephants that joined the herd at the Denver Zoo back in September splashed around, for the second time ever, during a demonstration in the Toyota Elephant Passage last week.
Jake, 8, and Chuck, 10, came from African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada, and joined Groucho, Bodhi and Billy in Denver. The zoo now has the largest bachelor herd of Asian elephants in North America.
“Aside from being a fun activity, this playful behavior provides the boys with exercise, an opportunity to bond and a way to regulate their body temperature when it’s hot outside,” zoo officials stated.
The Toyota Elephant Passage, which opened in 2012 and cost $50 million, is one of the largest and most complex elephant exhibits in North America. It features two miles of interconnected trails, more than 1.2 million gallons of water for swimming and bathing, six outdoor yards and nine indoor areas, and various other features that ensure their physical, mental and behavioral wellbeing.
Asian elephants are classified as endangered, primarily due to habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation caused by an expanding human population, and increasing conflict between humans and elephants.