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Spike, a 31-year-old elephant from the Miami Zoo, is headed back to Florida to join a bigger facility. (CBC)

The Calgary Zoo has announced plans to relocate the first of four elephants.

Spike, a male Asian elephant also known as Ganesh, will be moved to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., later this year.

He has been on loan from the Miami Zoo, which moved him to Calgary in 1992 after a hurricane damaged parts of that zoo.

"Although we know Spike is going to receive excellent care at Busch Gardens, we will miss him when he’s the first to leave. He has been an important part of our zoo family for more than 20 years," said Calgary zoo president  Dr. Clément Lanthier in a press release.

The Calgary Zoo is closed to the public as repairs continue for areas hit hard by flooding in June.

However, the plan to move the endangered elephants over the next few years was announced before the zoo was flooded. Elephants do better in larger social groups and in larger enclosures, officials said. 

Busch Gardens Tampa was chosen because of its experience with Asian elephants and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums approved the move, said zoo officials. 

Jeff Andrews, a vice-president at that zoo, has also worked with the Calgary Zoo and Spike in the past.

Busch Gardens, a large theme park owned by SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, currently has five Asian female elephants, according to its website.