Remember Niabi's elephants Babe & Sophie? They went south to live in Little Rock....and they are doing so well. Watch the video of a little "elephant affection"....and see their updated story below.
Niabi Zoo's pair of pachyderms who moved to a warmer climate about six years ago are living large in Little Rock.
Senior citizens Babe and Sophie are staying active and healthy in their golden years, the director at the Little Rock Zoo said this week.
The zoo has big plans for Sophie's 50th birthday this spring. It is especially satisfying for keepers to celebrate Sophie, because she nearly died three years ago from a uterine infection.
"Sophie’s health is stable, and she’s been doing well," Director Susan Altrui wrote in an email Tuesday. "As with any older animal, keeping them moving is key."
Also key for highly socialized elephants is other elephants. While Babe has made a new friend at Little Rock, Sophie isn't quite so keen on the zoo's third elephant, Zina. But Sophie is increasingly tolerant of Babe and Zina's growing bond.
In 2013, Babe and Sophie were placed on permanent loan to Little Rock after an elephant expert warned Rock Island County officials they were in increasingly poor health. The cold climate was partly to blame, but the elephants' yard and barn were inadequate in size, and the barn was too drafty for the Asian species. The two former circus performers sustained damage to their ears from frost bite, and the cold winters were particularly hard on their arthritis.
While Niabi still owns the pair on paper, the Little Rock Zoo is responsible for their care — at a cost of about $400,000 annually — for the rest of their lives.