Sneak Peek at the Toyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo
Sunday, May 13, 2012 Leave a Comment
We got a sneak peek of the remarkable Toyota Elephant Passage at the Denver Zoo last week!
It lives up to the hype. It is a very special place, a unique home for elephants. Specifically, elephant families.
We were greeted by one of the new elephants, Bodhi, walking across a wooden bridge over the pathway - right over our heads! A fitting introduction to the Toyota Elephant Passage. Bodhi is the "baby" of the group - an 8 year old male - and all 6,000 pounds walked quite confidently over the bridge, took a snack from the trainer, turned around and came back.
The Elephant Passage is 10 acres for the elephants to roam - with different areas that can be connected or shut off. It mimics their habitat in the wild, and lets them socialize with each other, or be alone (and it looks a bit like Jurassic Park, with the fences and gates). Right now, 4 elephants live there: longtime zoo favorites Mimi and Dolly (good to see you ladies again!) and two newcomers- the males: Groucho and Bodhi.
It turns out, male elephants are rare in zoos. They're big, they're strong, they can be stubborn, and when they go into musk season (something like going into heat), they can be unpredictable and mean. In fact, the Asian Village exhibit explains why Asian elephants are in danger: the male elephants rampage through homes, over cars, even wait in ambush for trucks carrying grain. They are destructive and dangerous, so the villagers kill them.
|The Alpha Male, Groucho|
|Groucho getting snacks|
Did you know the gestation period for an elephant is 22 months? Two years! Single births. It's no wonder they are in trouble.
The Denver Zoo is hoping that in ten years, they'll have an elephant family roaming the grounds. And they're hoping the exhibit will help educate people on the work they're doing in Asia to help the people there live with wild elephants.
You can buy tickets for the Sneak Peek starting May 19 here - and I highly encourage you to go and be amazed!