Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Detroit Zoo's elephants California-bound

4. December 2004 • Murph
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If you want to see elephants at the Detroit Zoo, do so now. They’ll have left for a sanctuary in California by spring at the latest. From the Detroit Free Press:

Wanda and Winky—two aging elephants at the heart of a bitter struggle between the Detroit Zoo and its accrediting organization—will be headed to a sanctuary after all.

In a pact Friday, the zoo, the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the Columbus Zoo and the San Antonio Zoo, which owns Wanda, agreed the sanctuary would be best for both animals.

“I think the elephants will be pleased,” said Detroit Zoo Director Ron Kagan, who has lobbied for months to move the pair to a warmer climate. He wants them to be able to roam and said it would be best for their arthritic conditions.
. . .
The duo will be moved to the 2,300-acre Performing Animal Welfare Society’s sanctuary, about two hours east of San Francisco. That sanctuary received its sixth elephant from the San Francisco Zoo a week ago after public outcry that the city’s tiny exhibit space wasn’t sufficient.

For months, there has been a debate over where the two would be transferred to. The AZA had blocked Kagan’s plan to send the animals to a sanctuary in California or Tennessee. The AZA’s solution was to move them to another zoo within the association if Detroit couldn’t provide care.