SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

January 14, 2012

Meet (really big) Hank

Bigger man in town

Zoo’s replacement pachyderm dwarfs other members of his new family


MIKE MUNDEN FOR THE DISPATCH Officials at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are hoping Hank, their new resident Asian bull elephant, will breed with the zoo’s two females.

Meet HankColumbus Zoo’s New Big Man On Campus – YouTube 13, 2012 – 2 min – Uploaded by Columbuszoomedia
Hank arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on December 8, 2011  If you really wanted him to be taken 

“My goodness, he’s big.”
“He’s a large fellow.”
“His legs are like tree trunks.”
After Columbus Zoo and Aquarium employees flocked to the elephant house yesterday to see its newest resident, all came away with the same conclusion:  Hank is hefty. “He may be the biggest elephant in a North American zoo,” said Harry Peachey, the Columbus Zoo’s assistant curator.

Yesterday was the first day most zoo employees got a glimpse of Hank, who has been in quarantine on zoo grounds for a month. Today, the public gets its chance. Hank will be on display in the elephant house from 10 a.m. until noon.

At 15,600 pounds, the 23-year-old Asian elephant is more than twice the size of Phoebe, one of two female elephants at the zoo.   (Hank’s 24th birthday is Monday, and the zoo will celebrate by giving the elephant a treat at 11 a.m., when he also will be on display.)

Connie, the other female, weighs about 9,000 pounds. Coco, the zoo’s breeding male until his unexpected death last year, is between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.    All are Asian elephants, a species that’s endangered. The hope is that Hank will mate and produce offspring to add to the herd, which includes 2-year-old Beco.

Peachey said he hopes that mating will occur naturally, but artificial insemination is a possibility if necessary.    In the meantime, Hank is being introduced gradually to the other elephants. First, he spent time in an area where they could smell and hear one another. This week, all the elephants stood near an opening in a door so they could touch one another with their trunks. Next, they’ll be up close and personal in the same enclosure. Peachey said he doesn’t expect problems.

Before coming to Columbus, Hank lived for 16 years at Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in Greenbrier, Ark. He was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and spent time at the Bronx Zoo and Have Trunk Will Travel, a California elephant-rental company.  Hank has sired one offspring, a calf that did not survive.

“He’s so laid back,” Peachey said. “It’s phenomenal how relaxed he is;   it’s indicative of his confidence level.” Peachey said that when elephants are placed in a strange enclosure, nine out of 10 stay in one place, sniffing and observing. Hank, however, investigated every corner of the elephant enclosure yesterday as soon as he arrived.    He twirled hay in his trunk, waded into the elephant pool, scratched his back on a fake tree and ambled along the front of the enclosure, unfazed by the stares of zookeepers and others.    “We’ve lucked out,” Peachey said, a grin spreading across his face.

MIKE MUNDEN FOR THE DISPATCH    Zoo photographer Grahm Jones tries to get all of Hank’s 15,600 pounds into the frame after the elephant was released from a 30-day quarantine. Hank makes his first public appearance today.

Hefty Hank

How the estimated weight (in pounds) of the Columbus Zoo’s new elephant, Hank, compares with that of other Asian elephants at the zoo. (Coco died last year.)



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    Comment by network adapter driver windows 7 — November 1, 2012 @ 1:44 am | Reply

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      Comment by Jan Turner — November 1, 2012 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

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