Sunday, May 20, 2007

From Henry Edgar

FolkZoo, originally uploaded by bucklesw1.

Cita, Monica and Lisa are the Virginia Zoo's popular pachyderms. COURTESY OF THE VIRGINIA ZOO

By DEBBIE MESSINA, The Virginian-Pilot
© May 17, 2007 | Last updated 10:53 PM May. 16

NORFOLK - In the competition for Norfolk's ambassador of the year, how could the judges resist a trio of ladies who like to eat heartily, burp loudly and relax with a bit of mud bathing?

They couldn't. So they bestowed one of the city's highest tourism honors Wednesday to Cita, Monica and Lisa, the Virginia Zoo's popular pachyderms. It's the first time a non human has been honored.

Zoo director Greg Bockheim wrote in his nomination that the elephants "represent the 'big picture' when it comes to hospitality and customer service" as they "happily go about their day performing their various crowd-pleasing assignments."

Those include branch and log pulverizing as well as tire stomping and rolling.

Their shared mission, he said, is "Be all you can be! If you can't wear it, crush it or scare it, eat it!"

The nomination of Cita, Monica and Lisa - at 7,800, 8,600 and 10,000 pounds respectively - clearly outweighed the others.

Honorees typically receive a gift, such as a restaurant or hotel gift certificate.

But for these three, "a night on the town might be too much on the city," said Mary Garrett, spokeswoman for the Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau, which sponsors the annual awards.

Instead, they received a "substantial" bag of peanuts.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful. and this zoo and the people deserve a "thumbs up"

Anonymous said...

I saw Jorge Barreda's four elephants at a Hamid Shrine date over the weekend in Plymouth Meeting, PA. Buckles, or anyone else who may know, are there any other African elephants with any other show on the road today that you know of?

Anonymous said...

I believe that Jody Watkins works with these elephants. Jody's dad was chimp trainer Buddy Watkins.

Anonymous said...

As fars as african elephants witch circuses, Jorge pages has two (Daisy and Bombi) on his show Circus Pages, Tommy Liebel has one (Nosey), Tom Demry has one(Anna Louise), Brian Franzen has two (Kosti and Megu), Bill Morris has one(Shannon), Doug Terranova has three all together (Kamba, Moxie, and Congo)and two (kamba and Congo)on the road with Culpepper and Merriweather. Terry Frisco has two (Gina and Dumbo). Thats all I can think of off the top of my head. Jorge Barreda's four are Makia, Lovey, Lou, and Dolly