Oklahoma City Zoo prepares to receive male elephant

A male elephant could arrive as early as this fall at the Oklahoma City Zoo. The bull, named Rex, is a former circus elephant that will be brought from a zoo in Canada. Zoo officials hope Rex will breed with Chandra immediately and then Asha after her calf is weaned.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: July 18, 2011
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A male elephant could be added to the Oklahoma City Zoo as soon as this fall.

Rex will be transported from African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, some time this year, though a date has not been set, said Laura Bottaro, mammal curator for the Oklahoma City Zoo.

He will breed with both adult female elephants in Oklahoma City in the coming years, Bottaro said.

The addition of Rex to the Asian elephant herd would be the second new elephant this year. A calf, Malee, was born April 15.

The move is months in the making, Bottaro said. Oklahoma City Zoo officials visited the Canadian zoo in September. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must grant a permit for the move before Rex comes here, Bottaro said. After the permit is granted, the zoos will select a date.

When he arrives, Rex will be quarantined for at least 30 days, Bottaro said. He will live in one of the smaller yards and have access to his own stall inside the elephant barn.

Rex is a healthy, smart elephant, Bottaro said.

Rex was captured as a calf in India in about 1968, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums studbook, a record of North American zoo elephants. He is estimated to be about 43 years old.

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