08/20/2013 04:11 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT

3 Calgary Zoo elephants moving to Washington, D.C.

The Calgary Zoo is sending its remaining elephants to a facility in Washington, D.C.

Next spring Kamala, Swarna and Maharani will head to the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

The zoo announced earlier this summer that its lone male Asian elephant, Spike, will be moved to the Busch Gardens zoo in Tampa, Fla., later this year.

Zoo officials said they did an extensive international search and this accredited facility met their stringent criteria to take care of the three female elephants.

The move was made in the best interest of the animals and not because of recent flood damage to the zoo, according to officials.

The decision to move the animals was made last April because the island that houses the zoo cannot accommodate a large herd, and elephant welfare is better served by being part of a larger social group.