Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bulls of Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami currently houses two separate herds of elephants. Machito, Miami's 31 year old African bull resides with two 35 year old African cows, Maybel and Peggy. Miami also houses a 45 year old male Asian elephant, Dahlip, with a 42 year old Asian cow named Nellie. The elephants are managed in protected contact.

Dahlip has sired four calves with the female Seetna at Zoo Miami. Dahlip and Seetna were both born within a month of each other at the Trivandrum Zoo in Kerala, India. They arrived together to Miami MetroZoo in August 1967. A male calf named Rocky was born in April 1977 but died after seventeen days. Another male was born in Jul 1981. This calf, originally named Ganesha, would be the only surviving offspring of Dahlip. A third female calf named Pearl was born in October 1985 and died two days later. The final calf was stillborn in May 1996. Complications of this birth would cause the death of the 30 year old mother Seetna, requiring her euthanasia.

In February 2010, the Miami MetroZoo used a water-cooled hand saw to trim 12 inches of ivory from Dahlip's tusks to prevent him from injuring himself by hitting them on the floor when he walks. The 12000 pound elephant was forty three years old.

Dahlip, Zoo Miami's Asian male, October 2009.
Photo Courtesy of Tim May, ZooChat

Dahlip and Nellie, Zoo Miami's Asian elephants, October 2009.
Photo Courtesy of Tim May, ZooChat

Although kept with several females at Zoo Miami, Machito has only sired one calf. He bred with Tribby before her transfer to the Cleveland Zoo in November 1992 following the destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew. She gave birth to a male calf in March 1994, though the animal only survived a day. It was the only elephant birth at the Ohio zoo.

Machito, Zoo Miami's African male, October 2009.
Photo Courtesy of Tim May, ZooChat

Spike (Ganesha)
Miami MetroZoo's only surviving elephant birth occurred in July 1981. The calf was named Ganesha after the Hindu god. After Hurricane Andrew devastated the zoo in 1992 and several elephants residing at the zoo were temporarily or permanently relocated, Ganesha was moved to the Calgary Zoo in Canada and renamed Spike.

Spike has sired two calves in Calgary. Keemaya was born in November 2004, though she was rejected by her 14 year old mother and later developed an infection. She died within several weeks. The pair's second calf was born in August 2007 and named Malti. In late October 2008, the fourteen month old calf was diagnosed with Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus and died six days later. At the time of Malti's death, only four elephants were known to have experienced symptoms of the disease and recovered.

Both calves born to Spike and Maharani were full F2 generation births, meaning both of their parents were born in captivity. Maharani was born at the Calgary Zoo to Bandara and Kamala in July 1990.

Spike currently weighs 12,500 pounds and measures 11'6" at the shoulder.

Spike, Zoo Miami's only surviving birth, March 2009.
Photo Courtesy of B Van Hooft

Dahlip (Dalip), Male Asian, SB 139
10 Jul 1966 - Birth, Trivandrum Zoo, Kerala, India
26 Aug 1967 - Miami MetroZoo, Miami, Florida
11 Sep 1992 - Two Tails Ranch, Williston, Florida
02 Jun 1995 - Miami MetroZoo, Miami, Florida
>> Dahlip at

Machito, Male African, SB 197
Apr 1980 - Birth, Zimbabwe
Jul 1981 - Catskill Game Farm, Catskill, New York
13 Sep 1981 - North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, North Carolina
11 Nov 1981 - Miami MetroZoo, Miami, Florida
>> Machito at

Spike (Ganesha), Male Asian, SB 141
02 Jul 1981 - Birth, Miami MetroZoo, Miami, Florida
19 Sep 1992 - Calgary Zoo, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
>> Spike at

Additional Information
"A Tusky Situation," 02/04/2010

"Calgary Zoo Celebrates Elephant Calf Arrival," 08/09/2007

"Baby Elephant Gravely Ill of Herpes Virus," 11/01/2008


  1. The Asian male, Dahlip, is separated from the two females during musk to prevent breeding. The Asian females are Nellie and the recent transfer Maude. Maude & Nellie are in what appears to be the "normal" enclosure in pictures. Where does Dahlip go during this time? Dahlip was known to be in musk and separated from the females in late Feb/Mar 2011 when Maude arrived. Both females are virgins and to old to start breeding.

    Helpful information if you are trying to tell the females apart. Maude is managed under free contact. Maude is taller than Nellie, plus she has a bump on her right hindquarter.

  2. Denny,

    Zoo Miami's outdoor exhibits are separated, so both Dahlip and the cows are allowed outdoor access on exhibit while separated. A bull does not have to be in musth to breed, but rather he is separated from the cows to prevent aggression.

    Thank you for the identification tips.

  3. Which Asian male in video? (see warning below) Video shows three elephants - 2 adults and a baby. Filmed BEFORE April 2009 (since that's when it was posted. No clue how long before posting it was actually filmed.)

    Asian Males that have been at Miami zoo:
    Dahlip - currently there, but tusks are MUCH longer
    Smokey/Rhani/Ronnie - castrated (when? and do castrated elephants still attempt to mate?) went to Gary Johnson in 1994 - can't find a picture.
    Spike/Ganesha - went to Calgary Zoo in 1992; son of Dahlip; has a tusk cap on left and short tusk on right in picture dated 2008

    Title is "elephant sex in Miami zoo" (you've been warned, so don't be offended if you click the link.

  4. Dalip is the male in the video here - you can tell by his tusks if you compare to other pictures.

    Is the female Nellie? or another? In Central FL we were told Nellie wouldn't be bred.

  5. Spike was named spike as young as a week old. I took care of him for the first 3 years of his life. Our supervisor Bill DOss, called him spike from the beginning although he had a proper royal name. The name of his mother Seetna and Father Dollip were what was know for years. It eventually came to light that Dollip was a mispelling of Dillip and Seetna was actually Seetha. Several of those working with them are no longer alove. Bill, David (killed by tigers) Andy began bowlig for rhinos and is now retired Jean R. Went to San D. Wild An Park - died shortly afterward and Alan R (also went to San D. and then a private Elephant consultant. Myself David Camp went on the obtain a PhD and now does consulting and is a tenure faculty member in a college.

    The Africans have their own history Machito, Perry (AKA FLossy) and Mabel (AKA Lana).

    Dr. David A Camp

  6. Dr. Camp,
    Thank you for your first hand knowledge of these animals! My father has told me several stories about his visits with Bill Doss. I would be interested to hear your stories about the Africans as well.

  7. Regarding Spike, the Calgary Zoo has just announced his mate Rani is 10-11 months pregnant with her third calf. Congratulations to zoo staff and best wishes for the growing herd.

  8. Hi Ryan,
    I worked as an assistant to Bill Doss, the elephant trainer at the Crandon Park Zoo in 1974-75. I took care of 3 elephants. Seetna and Dahlip were a young pair that had been imported from India. Dixie was the zoo's first elephant and about 20 when I knew her. I used to walk her out to the shade area behind the elephant barn and scratch her back with a rake. She had a huge rubber tire she carried around and we called it her 'baby'. Sadly, she developed arthritis in her front foot/leg from all the years walking on the concrete floor of the barn and was operated on. The surgery was a success but she later died of pneumonia. It was such an incredible experience. I have some photos if you are interested.

    1. Hi Candy- this is Deborah Doss, Bill Doss' oldest daughter. I would love to have a copy of the photos. My Dad passed away on 2007 and he is greatly missed. He was always trying to contact those we worked with him. My phone number is 615.423.0956.
      Thank you,
      Deborah Doss

  9. Candy,
    Thank you very much for your stories and the information about Dixie. I would love to share any photos you have. You can contact me at shomeetigers[at]

    1. Hi Ryan, Sent you an email with a photo of me and Dahlip. :- )

    2. Sorry to learn here that Bill has passed.


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.