It's Animal House, Zoo Style.

The Denver Zoo is all about the bachelors.

The zoo welcomed two new Asian elephants in September, creating the largest herd of male elephants in the nation. Chuck, 10, and Jake, 8, came to Denver from the African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada. Best buddies already, the pachyderm pair joined Groucho, Bodhi, and Billy, who are part of the zoo’s ongoing efforts to protect and save the endangered species.

When they first arrived, the bulls acclimated to their new home for about a month before they made their public debut. They spent the time after getting acclimated to their new home and in February were introduced to their bachelor-pad mates in smaller groups. In late February, they reached the final stages of introductions to the herd when they were all allowed to interact with each other at will. 

The guys get acquainted with each other. Courtesy of The Denver Zoo.

“This is the part that gets really exciting,” said Maura Davis, Assistant Curator of Elephants in a statement. “Now we’re watching each elephant’s behavior to gauge their relationships with one another to help determine how we can put them together going forward. That means there will be days when we’ll have all five in the same habitat together, and days when you might see smaller groups or just one elephant alone. It is important for bull elephants to get their solo time, especially if they’re older. Groucho is an older guy and definitely still needs his alone time!”

With Chuck and Jake officially at home, Denver Zoo is now the largest bachelor herd in North America. The zoo has a large population of males because their genetics are valuable to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, the zoo said. Asian elephants have a decreasing global population estimated at fewer than 35,000.

“Denver Zoo is deeply committed to the protection of Asian elephants and uniquely qualified to house and provide exceptional care for multiple bulls,” said Brian Aucone, senior vice president for animal sciences at Denver Zoo. “We designed and built Toyota Elephant Passage to support the Asian elephant population in North American zoos, and establish Denver Zoo as a worldwide leader in the care of male Asian elephants.”

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