The relocation of Raja the elephant from the Saint Louis Zoo to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has been announced as part of the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan. Raja will have the opportunity to join a new family group and mentor a young male at his new home. This move comes in an effort to save the Asian elephant species from extinction.
Raja's departure from the Saint Louis Zoo is bittersweet for the staff and fans, but it is considered to be in the best interest of his well-being and the survival of the species. The Asian Elephant SSP works with accredited institutions to ensure the health, genetic diversity, and overall well-being of Asian elephants in North America.
The move is expected to take place in late 2024 or early 2025, allowing room for another male elephant at the Saint Louis Zoo. The SSP has provisionally named 15-year-old Samudra from Oregon as a potential match for the herd.
The Saint Louis Zoo welcomes visitors to spend time with Raja before his departure. Currently, the zoo is home to six other elephants, including Raja's mother Pearl, Elli, Sri, and Raja's daughters Maliha, Jade, and Priya. Another addition to the herd is expected in late 2024 or early 2025, as Jade is currently pregnant with her first calf.
Jade's pregnancy is especially significant because it is the first at the Saint Louis Zoo through artificial insemination, allowing Jade to stay with her family group and contribute to the population's sustainability. The zoo's Animal Care and Animal Health teams are providing exceptional care to Jade throughout her pregnancy to ensure the well-being of both Jade and her calf.
As of now, the sex of Jade's calf is unknown, but it will weigh between 250 and 350 pounds when born. The Saint Louis Zoo remains committed to the conservation and preservation of Asian elephants and looks forward to the new calf joining their multi-generational elephant family.
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