Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomes African elephant ‘Kallie’

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African elephant Kalllie moved from the International Conservation Center in Pennsylvania to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomes African elephant ‘Kallie’

Nov 3, 2011

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed female African elephant “Kallie” to the herd in African Elephant Crossing around noon today.

Kallie, estimated to be 29, traveled to Cleveland in a specially equipped tractor-trailer from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s International Conservation Center in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. An elephant keeper from the Pittsburgh Zoo accompanied Kallie on the trip and will be staying in Cleveland over the next few days to help her acclimate to her new home.

Kallie, on loan from the Philadelphia Zoo, is the sixth elephant to take up residence in the Zoo’s $25 million state-of-the-art elephant exhibit. This is the first time Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has had six elephants at one time.

“African Elephant Crossing is a world-class facility,” said Philadelphia Zoo General Curator and Director of Conservation Kim Lengel. “I visited the exhibit this fall and saw the care and dedication of Cleveland’s staff. I knew right away it would be an excellent home for Kallie.”

Kallie’s arrival is somewhat of a reunion, considering she once lived with three of the Zoo’s other elephants, Willy, Martika and Shenga, in Florida. Willy, Kallie, Martika and Shenga were all part of a massive privately owned herd of elephants at eccentric millionaire Arthur Jones’ property “Jumbo Lair” in Ocala, Florida.

Martika was the first to leave Jumbo Lair in 1984, sold to another private owner. Shenga left in 1986. But Willy and Kallie were sold together in 1989 to the now defunct Four Bears Water Park in Michigan. They stayed together through their next move, to a private entertainment company called Zoomotion, working in various capacities until 1998 when Willy went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Kallie started spending part of the year at the Philadelphia Zoo in 1999 and moved there full-time in 2004.

The Philadelphia Zoo decided to close its elephant exhibit, and in 2009 sent Kallie to live at the International Conservation Center. Now she has the chance to reunite with Willy, her companion of 15 years, for the first time since 1998.

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