SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – Zoo Miami proudly welcomed a new addition to their family of elephants on Wednesday.
“Maude,” an Asian elephant about 37-years old, packed her trunk and arrived at Zoo Miami on Tuesday, February 22nd and was put on public display with one of the other elephants for the first time on Wednesday morning.
She, along with “Nellie”, another female Asian elephant, enjoyed the attention.
“They’re beautiful, they’re so big and majestic and so tranquil looking,” New Hampshire tourist Cindy Landry said.
Maude was transferred from the Central Florida Zoo in Sanford as part of a Species Survival Plan recommendation.
After being a part of the Central Florida Zoo for nearly thirty years, the decision to move Maude was in her best interest so that she could enjoy the companionship of other elephants, according to zoo officials.
“Elephants are very social mammals,” said Senior Zoo Keeper Terah Bedrossian. “Generally the females stay together in a herd – and males stay in solitary.”
Maude’s arrival on the 22nd was private and restricted so there wouldn’t be any distractions or excess stress on the arriving pachyderm. While her transfer went smooth, the greater challenge was determining whether the other two Asian elephants would accept Maude as part of their social structure.
Elephants are extremely intelligent and introducing new animals to established individuals can often be quite stressful and challenging. Maude had been alone for some time so this was a very tense and apprehensive time for everyone involved.
But to the delight of everyone involved, the 42-year-old female elephant, Nellie, hasn’t had any problems accepting Maude into her new home. Nellie even accepted Maude as if they had been long lost friends. Nellie has been seen reassuring Maude and guiding her through her new environment.
“If they weren’t going to be getting along we’d probably be seeing some displacement behaviors such as trumpeting, some big roars, they make a whole array of different vocalizations, banging their heads on the surfaces of the barn, just aggressive behaviors in general but we didn’t see anything like that at all,” according to Bedrossian.
The male elephant, 44-year-old “Dalip,” hasn’t been introduced to Maude just yet. Maude hasn’t met a male elephant in about 30-years.