The Elephants Have Left…The Zoo

The Philadelphia Zoo's two female African elephants have traded their cramped West Philadelphia home for new digs at a sprawling southwestern Pennsylvania sanctuary run by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.

Kallie and Bette have joined Jackson, a male African elephant, at the Pittsburgh Zoo's 724-acre center for rare and endangered species in Fairhope Township, Somerset County. They arrived late Tuesday after coasting along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in a specially-designed trailer.

The Philadelphia Zoo decided to move the elephants after determining it was not economically feasible to build a new enclosure in the near future. The pair arrived at the zoo in 2004.

The move has become the subject of harsh reaction by zoo patrons and animal rights activists alike. Some are upset by the notion that America's first zoo will be without the pachyderms, while others feel the move is a guise to increase breeding in captivity.

Pittsburgh Zoo officials said the activists don't understand the purpose of the facility.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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