Elephants

Zoo officials are working to make sure Connie and Shaba, elephants at the Reid Park Zoo, stay together in their future home at the San Diego Zoo.

Randy Metcalf/2008 file photo

After several months of controversy, the Reid Park Zoo announced this week that both Connie and Shaba will be moved to the San Diego Zoo Elephant Odyessy.

The original plan was to split the elephants up, with Tucson planning to keep one of them, and the other was set to move relocated to the San Diego Zoo.

The City of Tucson Parks and Recreation officials and staff from the Reid Park Zoo have been re-evaluating a decision to separate Connie and Shaba from one another.

After conferring with experts from San Diego Zoo Global, Reid Park Zoo staff, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the African Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), it was decided to keep them together.

The decision to move Shaba to San Diego along with Connie allows Reid Park Zoo to continue to meet the long-established objectives of its elephant program:

• Provide both Connie and Shaba with additional space, superior whole-life care, and expertly trained staff at AZA institutions.

• Introduce both Connie and Shaba to additional herd members, as two-animal "herds" do not provide for long term social needs for elephants.

• Continue to participate actively in the African Elephant Species Survival Plan and breeding program.

• Partner with fellow elephant experts for the future of elephants at AZA zoos.

• Provide an accredited Zoo in Tucson where guests have the opportunity to learn from elephants and are encouraged to form personal and meaningful connections with wildlife.

Following a conference call with San Diego Zoo officials, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said, "I am glad we found a solution that will keep Connie and Shaba together and provide them both with excellent care. This is a really good result for Connie, Shaba and the Tucsonans of all ages who love them."

Besides area residents protesting the original decision to split the animals up, famous game-show host Bob Barker also spoke out against the idea.

 

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