Meet Spike: National Zoo’s Asian elephant makes his debut (video)

Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the debut of their new male Asian elephant Friday. (Courtesy National Zoo/Roshan Patel)
Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the debut of their new male Asian elephant Friday. (Courtesy National Zoo/Roshan Patel) (National Zoo/Roshan Patel)
Spike explores his new habitat. (National Zoo/Roshan Patel)
Spike explores his new habitat. (National Zoo/Roshan Patel) (National Zoo/Roshan Patel)
Spike is 36 years old and came from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida. (Courtesy National Zoo) (Courtesy National Zoo)
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Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the debut of their new male Asian elephant Friday. (Courtesy National Zoo/Roshan Patel)
Spike explores his new habitat. (National Zoo/Roshan Patel)

WASHINGTON — Now this is the real elephant in the room.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the debut of their new male Asian elephant named Spike on Friday.

And while it was certainly a treat for the zoo, Spike got his own treat too: a frozen banana tree trunk filled with carrots, pineapple, mango, papaya and sugar cane.

Video from the zoo’s Elephant Cam shows him exploring his new habitat and playing with elephant-sized curiosities.

The 36-year-old pachyderm came from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Florida. He arrived in D.C. March 23.

The purpose of Spike’s trip? To make a baby elephant.

He is in the District based on a recommendation to breed with the zoo’s 27-year-old female elephant, Maharani, from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

Spike had previously lived with Maharani — as well as two other females at the zoo, Kamala and Swarna — at the Calgary Zoo.

The SSP works to find individual animals across the country for breeding in order to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and self-sustaining population.

The big guy — Spike weights a hefty 13,000 pounds — was born in 1981.

Check out video of his debut below.


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