06/07/2013 04:51 pm ET Updated Aug 07, 2013

Denver Zoo Welcomes New Asian Elephant From Belgium To Support Species Survival Plan

The Denver Zoo will be adding a new Asian elephant to it's Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit this summer, courtesy of Belgium's Antwerpen Zoo.

The 5-year-old bull elephant's addition is meant to support the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan because he is unrelated to any other elephant in the U.S. Known as Budi in Belgium, the elephant will be renamed Billy at the Denver Zoo and will become the third male elephant in the zoo's Toyota Elephant Passage, a $50 million state-of-the-art animal habitat.

"Denver Zoo is proud to take a leadership role in the management of multiple male elephants to support the long-term vitality of Asian elephants in zoo settings. This encourages breeding programs at all zoos while providing an excellent home for elephants," Denver Zoo Vice President for Animal Care Brian Aucone wrote in a statement.

Billy will have traveled a long way in his 5 years of life. He was born in the Dublin Zoo weighing 176 pounds on February 17, 2008. It's over 4,800 miles from Antwerp, Beligium to Denver, Colo.

Billy's new name will be in honor of the memory of William Chenoweth, a long-time zoo supporter.

See photos of the Denver Zoo's newest elephant, Billy!



Billy The Elephant