The Houston Zoo is planning $100 million in improvements. One biggie will be growing the exhibit for three Asian elephants to one of over 3 acres for up to six pachyderms. (Link)
Salatheia Bryant of the Houston Chronicle makes comparisons to the NC Zoo, which is expanding its exhibit for three African elephants. It will grow from 3.5 acres to 7. It will aim for up to 12 elephants.
""In the last 15 to 20 years, the zoo community has found out a lot more on the social structures of elephants," said Rod Hackney, spokesman for the state-owned [NC] zoo. "We're trying to replicate the conditions found in the wild. The zoo community has learned that the large social group structure is important, particularly to breeding.""
That social structure, by the way, features a dominant female, other adult females and babies and adolescents of both genders. The adult males, meanwhile, are mainly living outside the herd social structure.
In the future at the NC Zoo, a male or two will be exhibited, or provided off exhibit spaces, in part for breeding purposes. (Artificial insemination may also be employed.)