Zoo Miami welcomes 2 new elephants to exhibit

African elephants brought to South Florida from Virginia Zoo

MIAMI – Zoo Miami welcomed two new African elephants to its exhibit Tuesday, who were brought to Miami from the Virginia Zoo.

The elephants, Cita and Lisa, are moving to Zoo Miami as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommendation.

Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said the recommendation came because of an upcoming AZA requirement that accredited institutions exhibiting elephants keep them in herds of three or more to support their "complex and psychological health."

"It was long trip," Magill said. "They've been in these crates now for about 24 hours. They drove straight from Virginia down here, so they'll be unloaded soon and get to meet their two herd mates, Peggy and Mabel ... This is a long term commitment for Zoo Miami to provide this type of facility for elephants that need a place to basically live out the sunset of their lives."

The elephants will be joined by Zoo Miami's female African elephants, Peggy and Mabel, both of whom are 40 years old, after a quarantine period.

Cita is almost 48 years old and Lisa is 42 years old.

Because of the elephants' ages, neither will be a part of the zoo's breeding program, Magill said.

According to Magill, Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the continental U.S. where elephants can remain outdoors year round because of the sub-tropical climate.

"We care for all animals at the zoo and Cita and Lisa are especially loved," Virginia Zoo executive director  Greg Bockheim said. "Nothing is more important to us than their welfare. The combination of compassionate care, the science of elephant studies, and the expertise of the elephant community show us that Zoo Miami is the best choice for our girls."

Cita and Lisa will be presented to the public at Zoo Miami on May 20 following the quarantine period.


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