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Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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Male Elephant Coming to BGT

While were hanging out with one of the keepers and watching the elephants systematically destroy our handiwork (see Elephant Keeper experience), she mentioned to us that the park is expecting to get a male Asian elephant soon.

Apparently a zoo in Canada (in Calgary, I think) is having to close their Asian elephant section, and BGT agreed to take the bull. They hope to breed him with the girls in their existing herd. BGT staff have already worked with the Canadian elephants in the past, as part of a zoological exchange and training program. The keeper said that they hope to be able to expand in the future, so BGT can take the rest of the herd, as well.
 
Jun 23, 2010
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Nic said:
...the park is expecting to get a male African elephant.
It's an Asian elephant, not an African elephant. The elephants already at BGT are also Asian elephants.
 
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Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Just read the article and it says he was originally at the Miami Zoo but was moved to Calgary in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew wrecked it. I may have seen him as I visited that zoo a couple years before Andrew hit.
 

Nicole

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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

gardener14 said:
Nic said:
...the park is expecting to get a male African elephant.
It's an Asian elephant, not an African elephant. The elephants already at BGT are also Asian elephants.
Totally right. I was really tired when I wrote this.

Fixed .
 
Jun 22, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

The male elephant arrived at the park recently, and is currently in "quarantine". Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with him, but they will run a number of different tests to make sure he is physically healthy before anything else.

Hopefully, by the end of the year he will be brought out of quarantine and be slowly introduced to the herd of females, on a one at a time basis to start. The hope is that he will be able to mate with the youngest of the female herd at the park, but the trainers also hope that interacting with all of the herd will be a positive experience for all the elephants.

At this point, however, it's unclear if the public will ever see the male elephant on the habitat. The trainer I spoke with this evening said he's "on loan", so to me that means he's not necessarily going to be at the park permanently.

Assuming his interaction with the female herd at the park is positive in the months ahead, another physical hurdle would have to be overcome. While the habitat is female Asian elephant "proof" (meaning the gates can handle their weight if they pushed, etc.), the trainer said the entire habitat would have to be "bull proof" for the male to be allowed out there. She explained the largest elephant they have in the herd now is approximately 9,500 pounds - the new male is around 13,000.

Those that take one of the tours that go behind the scenes at the elephant house, however, might get a chance to see the new guy in the months ahead.
 
May 3, 2011
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

How exactly do you transport an elephant gently? All I can think of is a tractor trailer, but wouldn't that be uncomfortable for the elephant?
 
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Mar 30, 2010
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

I take it you've never seen Smokey and the Bandit 2? How about Operation Dumbo Drop?
 
Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Evan said:
How exactly do you transport an elephant gently? All I can think of is a tractor trailer, but wouldn't that be uncomfortable for the elephant?
This site explains one process in transporting an elephant.

http://www.elephants.com/flora/floraTrip.php
 
Jun 22, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Spoke with another trainer today at the park about Spike and his progress.

At this point, all of the necessary tests have been performed, and the samples taken and sent out to be tested as part of the quarantine process. There is no timetable on when Spike will come out of quarantine, but everything so far has been fairly smooth.

The elephant is actually located in a section of the park north of the Serengeti, completely unconnected with the current elephant habitat or housing just to be safe. Even the trainers can not interact with Spike and then go into the elephant habitat in the same say without washing their clothing, etc., all to be extra careful in case there are any issues with the new elephant.

Trainers have been introducing themselves to Spike, and the trainer I spoke with today said the elephant has been very receptive. They are learning what works and what doesn't, and also teaching him new behaviors that they have seen work at the park with the current herd. The trainer said Spike is very intelligent, and learning quickly.

Discussions are still taking place on whether or not the current habitat will be modified to allow Spike to come out and be viewed by the public. The trainer said there were several areas that would have to be changed in order to allow the larger male elephant to be out on the habitat safely, including raising some wall sections and likely the elephant interaction area.

The trainer also said that the plan is to have Spike become a permanent member of Busch Gardens if all goes well. If that's the case, hopefully the park will make the investment to the habitat so that the public will be able to see him in the future.

Also worth noting - at this point Spike is not able to be seen by the public at all. In the future, it's possible that he may be able to be seen on the backstage tours involving the elephants, but at this point nothing is official on that front.
 
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Jun 22, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

The park posted these two photos in responses to questions on facebook about Spike. Basically, a few people were convinced of a conspiracy that Spike is actually dead, and the park is trying to hide it. Even though I've responded several times to similar questions (as has the park) to how Spike is doing. I'm waiting for the responses to the park's photos saying they're not current... or real... or something else silly.

 

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Nov 7, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Remember year ago in my army days was on a transport while on leave and the air force was transporting an elephant in a cargo plane for a zoo. It was an interesting smell of an experience
 
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Jun 22, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Just a quick update:

According to two trainers I spoke with in the past week, Spike is doing well, but is still in his separate area away from the rest of the herd. The current estimate on when he will be introduced to the herd is within two months.

From what I gathered, they are being abundantly cautious in introducing Spike to the herd as gently as possible in hopes of a successful meeting, and the eventual goal of being able to breed. Add to that the fact the current habitat is not bull proof, and the slow timeline is understandable.

Trainers did say the current plan is to make the necessary changes on the habitat to allow for Spike to be out, and the eventual goal is to expand the habitat to allow for further growth of the herd. No timetable on those changes.
 

Nicole

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Jul 22, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

Bill said:
Just a quick update:

According to two trainers I spoke with in the past week, Spike is doing well, but is still in his separate area away from the rest of the herd. The current estimate on when he will be introduced to the herd is within two months.
Any update on Spike? Is he moving in any time soon?
 
Aug 23, 2013
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RE: Male Elephant Coming to BGT

I talked with the trainer today about Spike and she said he is doing well. According to her, Spike's area allows him to within 3inches of the area where the girl elephants are. They can rub their sides against each other, touch trunks and are clearly getting use to each other.

The biggest factor in getting Spike introduced and more of a part of the herd is that he is a bit cautious and reluctant to move out into the habitat. He will only walk from the main house to about 40ft away and wont go further into the long run. They are easing him into this so hopefully in a few months he will feel more comfortable about moving out into the habitat.

The trainer indicated that Karnaudi, the youngest female at 24 years old, had never seen a male elephant before. They have started to see changes in her behavior, they think due to hormones and she has been acting quite excitedly. I got to witness it first hand. Karnaudi was making all kinds of sounds including the traditional trumpeting, but also some grunting and bellowing. She was picking up everything and acting like a nut. She picked up the palm branch and was waving it side to side while hoping from her right to her left front foot. It was so weird to see an elephant so active. She also climbed up with her front feet onto a large stump. I got a video of that Ill post soon when I figure out how.

Talking with the trainer they have almost completed the new enclosure but have begun to use it all. If you remember the old one, it was just a straight long path. Now its a flattened donut with long paths. They have three gates so they can create three areas. The entire back pathway was taken from the area that was Rhino Rally before. Its not all of Rhino Rally. They are taking proposals for what exibit/ride will go into the rest of old Rhino Rally and the elephant trainers have submitted several ideas on an expansion.

Also they have a new sign that shows the new habitat:
 

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