June 2, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
RON MAGILL, Zoo Communications Director
305-251-0400, ext. 84916 – Zoo Miami
ICONIC ZOO MIAMI ELEPHANT TO CELEBRATE 50th BIRTHDAY!
Zoo Miami is excited to be celebrating the 50th birthday of the largest and one of the most iconic animals in the zoo’s history! “Dalip” (Hindi name for boys meaning, “King”), the zoo’s resident male Asian elephant, reaches that milestone this month and the zoo will be celebrating this achievement all weekend long!
Dalip arrived at the old Crandon Park Zoo on Key Biscayne as a young calf in August of 1967, along with a female named Seetna, as a donation from philanthropist Ralph Scott who paid the government of India $2,500 for each animal. His actual date of birth was June 8th, 1966 and he was captive born in a zoo in the state of Kerala in India.
He fathered a calf with Seetna in July of 1980 before moving to the newly opened Miami Metrozoo later that year where they remained together until they had to be evacuated to separate institutions due to the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Whereas Seetna remained at the institution that she was sent to for breeding purposes, Dalip returned to Zoo Miami (then Metrozoo) in June of 1995 where has remained ever since.
Since his arrival to Miami back in 1967 as a one year old calf weighing a few hundred pounds, he has grown into one of the most majestic bull elephants in the country and now weighs approximately 12,650 pounds! He joins a very special club by turning fifty as the median age of Asian elephants in the U.S. is 40.
Zoo Miami will celebrate Dalip’s birthday all weekend with a series of special events including special keeper talks, crafts for children, singing “Happy Birthday” with free cupcakes (at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday while supplies last), a raffle and silent auction for an elephant painting and a behind-the-scenes tour, as well as a “dance off” each day at 2:00 p.m. Visitors can also sign a banner with their best wishes.
There will be a special media event at 11:00 a.m. on Friday (tomorrow) when a special massive cake is being “baked” for Dalip and will be presented to him for what are sure to be wonderful photo opportunities to officially launch this celebration weekend. Interested media should arrive to Gate #3 at the zoo by 10:45 a.m. so that they can be in place in front of the elephant exhibit when Dalip first comes out to enjoy his cake!