Relocating our GirlsLisa and Cita Arrive in Miami

April 19, 2016

Lisa and Cita arrived at their new home at Zoo Miami Today. The girls were greeted with a warm welcome from Miami veterinary and animal care staff and two new very excited friends.


First steps in Miami taken by Lisa.

Over the weekend, heavy equipment was brought to the Virginia Zoo to load the elephants into special containers for the long trip, before being loaded onto semi-trailers. The convoy of staff, veterinarians and animal care staff from both zoos drove the 1,100 miles from Norfolk to Miami in the course of 22 hours. They made welfare stops every couple hours to check on Lisa and Cita, providing them with water, hay and watermelons.


Virginia Zoo keeper Jennifer McNamara reassures Cita with some of her favorite foods and extra attention.

“Preparing and transporting aging elephants for this kind of trip is no easy task,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo, who made the trip to Miami. “But we planned a head of time to help ensure the trip was safe and stress-free as possible for them.”

Photo 1

Virginia Zoo and Zoo Miami staff who helped partake in the moving of Lisa and Cita and welcoming them to their new home.

Lisa and Cita are tired from the trip, but seem to be adjusting well. The girls will be temporarily quarantined until their debut on May 20. They are in the barn along with Zoo Miami’s African elephants Peggy and Mabel to familiarize themselves with their new friends. Virginia Zoo staff will stay until Monday to continue working with Zoo Miami staff, showing them the techniques and cues they used with Lisa and Cita. The warmer temperatures are already a big plus for Lisa and Cita. They will enjoy the softer ground and larger exhibit space.

“As Lisa and Cita acclimate to their new home at Zoo Miami, we will never forget the impact their presence has had on all of us in Hampton Roads,” said Bockheim.

Photo 3 (2)

Zoo Miami elephants Peggy and Mabel get their first glimpse of their new friends.

You can read more about the Virginia Zoo’s decision to move the elephants here.