Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is making plans for the arrival of a 7,900 pound female African elephant from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Shenga, estimated to be 28 years old, will move to Cleveland sometime this spring depending on the weather.
Shenga will join the Zoo's current herd: Jo, Moshi and Martika. Willy, a 32-year-old, 13,000-pound male elephant from Disney's Animal Kingdom, is expected to arrive in Cleveland after Shenga and prior to the May 5 opening of the Zoo's new African Elephant Crossing.
African Elephant Crossing contributed greatly to the decision to relocate Shenga to Cleveland. Dan Cassidy, general curator at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, recently visited Cleveland to see the new exhibit, meet the elephant care staff and review elephant management.
Cassidy stated that the new exhibit is a "state-of-the-art facility which gives the elephants opportunity to interact with each other and exhibit natural behaviors such as swimming, mud bathing and digging. The animals are in a large natural exhibit with experienced, caring staff."
Currently, Shenga is the only elephant in Omaha, following the October 2010 death of her exhibit mate. Elephants are highly social animals and animal care staffs at both zoos expect Shenga to acclimate well and enjoy the companionship of her new mates.
Senior members of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Zoological Programs staff traveled to Omaha earlier this year to meet Shenga and observe her behaviors and training.
"Shenga is a smart, social elephant and her move to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a win-win situation," said Steve Taylor, Zoo Director. "It enhances the dynamics of our current herd and provides her with a world-class exhibit and the opportunity to interact with multiple elephants."
Spread over five acres, African Elephant Crossing will combine best practices in elephant management, naturalistic environments and public education. It will feature two large yards for roaming, ponds for swimming, expanded sleeping quarters and a heated outdoor range. African Elephant Crossing also will house meerkats, naked mole rats, African rock pythons and a spectacular collection of colorful birds.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. From November through March, regular admission is reduced to $7 per person ages 12 and older, $5 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children under 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 77, 90 and 480.