Asian elephants, Babe and Sophie, Start Their New Lives Together
The two elephants that inhabited Niabi Zoo and entertained visitors for years have arrived at their new home.
The zoo announced Monday that the two Asian elephants have arrived safely at the Little Rock Zoo in Arkansas.
"The elephants, which arrived in Arkansas this afternoon, are currently settling into their new habitat after the drive from Niabi Zoo," Niabi Zoo said in a statement Monday.
The Little Rock zoo was chosen after an extensive search in conjunction with Alan Roocroft, an elephant care expert.
Niabi Zoo Director Marc Heinzman said the top criteria in selecting a zoo was the climate. Babe is overweight and Sophie has arthritis, he said, and in order to keep the conditions from worsening, they needed to be in a management program that has them exercise and stay mobile.
The zoo's statement said the two elephants would be kept together and that a third elephant would be added to their herd.
The Rock Island County Board voted in July to send the elephants to a new facility after Roocroft wrote an extensive report on their care.
Babe and Sophie had been at Niabi since 2000 and 2003, respectively. The elephants are on loan to the Little Rock Zoo, which allows Niabi to retain ownership.
Arkansas Zoo's beloved Asian elephant Sophie Feeling Better
Clicking on any picture will open Picture Gallery Viewer