Last elephant leaves Chicago zoos

Sept. 24, 2010 at 1:28 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Elephants, staple attractions at Chicago zoos since the 1880s, have disappeared with the shipping of the last one to a park in New Jersey, officials said.

On Wednesday Brookfield Zoo shipped a 27-year-old female African elephant named Joyce to a Six Flags park in New Jersey, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Six Flags loaned Joyce to Brookfield a year ago as a companion to Christy, a 28-year-old female elephant at the zoo, but when Christy died last December Six Flags decided it wanted Joyce back in its herd of elephants at Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari in New Jersey, the newspaper said.

Elephants have been in Chicago zoos since the late 19th century. Until this week Brookfield has had elephants continuously since opening 76 years ago. Lincoln Park obtained its first elephants in 1889 but ended its program after its three elderly African females, Tatima, Peaches and Wankie, died in a seven-month span in 2004 and 2005.

Brookfield officials say they plan to renovate an indoor elephant exhibit and bring back the giant animals at some point.

"We are committed to having elephants, and they will be back here in the future," William Ziegler, Brookfield's senior vice president for animal care, said.

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