Lisa and Cita are doing what any pair of older single ladies from up north might do in their golden years — moving to sunny South Florida.
They’re not settling in a condo by the beach, though. The two older African elephants will be arriving at their new digs at Zoo Miami before noon Tuesday.
Lisa, 42, and Cita, 47, will be joining two other female African elephants at the zoo, Peggy and Mabel, both 40. The move comes after the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommended zoos keep elephants in herds of three or more to support the psychological health of the animals, which are the largest land mammals on the planet.
“Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the continental United States that is located in a subtropical climate where the elephants can remain outdoors year-round while enjoying the spacious exhibits that have gone through recent renovations,” said Ron Magill, spokesman for the zoo.
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Lisa and Cita arrive after a day’s journey from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk. Greg Bockheim, the zoo’s director, said in a statement that both elephants were well-loved.
“We care for all animals at the Zoo and Cita and Lisa are especially loved,” he 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.”
Lisa was born in the wild and arrived at Virginia Zoo in 1976. Cita arrived in Virginia from the Indianapolis Zoo in 2005.
Both will go through a quarantine period before joining Peggy and Mabel. Zoo officials will present the new pachyderms to the public May 20 after the quarantine ends.