The Dallas Zoo has been authorized to import elephants from Swaziland. The zoo announced today that it’s received a permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to provide a home for elephants that it says would otherwise be killed.
The Dallas Zoo is partnering with the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska. The zoos say they’re working quickly to bring the elephants to the U.S. Together, they’ll provide homes for elephants that were slated to be culled.
Officials in Swaziland say the elephants are overcrowding the land and taking up resources needed by endangered rhinos. The country is in the midst of an extreme drought.
At the Dallas Zoo, the elephants will live in the Giants of the Savannah exhibit, where officials say the elephants will be kept together and have plenty of space to roam.
Zoo spokesperson Laurie Holloway says the zoo is thrilled the permit was finally issued.
“This has been a years-long process for us so we’re excited that Fish and Wildlife has come to a conclusion after much study and research that this is the right thing to do,” she said. “We’ve known that for a while and we’re happy that they agree with us.”
Some animal rights activists oppose the elephant move, including the group In Defense of Animals.
“This despicable move puts cash before conservation. The elephants have been sold out to line zoos’ pockets,” In Defense of Animals President Dr. Marilyn Kroplick said in a statement. “It is deeply irresponsible of the USFWS to allow this precedent-setting removal of African elephants from Africa for a lifetime of captivity.“