After forming a conservation partnership, three United States Zoos have been approved to provide homes to elephants from Big Game Parks in Swaziland, Africa. The Big Game Parks is a private non-profit Trust which manages three game reserves in Swaziland. Historic drought conditions in the region have created a serious threat to animals in these reserves.
After a thorough scientific review, U.S. Fish and Wildlife approved a permit to transport the elephants to The Dallas Zoo, along with Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and Sedgwick County Zoo. The three zoos sit under the umbrella of The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), an organization that accredits facilities capable of upholding the highest standards of animal care.
The transportation of the at-risk elephants is part of a larger conservation plan for Swaziland’s wildlife. The zoos are also making collaborative contributions to Swaziland’s rhino conservation efforts, which includes helping to pay to import food for rhinos that are severely threatened by the drought.
The elephants have been living in temporary holding areas called bomas since their removal from the parks in July. The named zoos proactively supported efforts to import food for the elephants and rhinos from other regions as the drought conditions worsened.
Animal rights groups have taken to the internet to criticize the endeavor, but offered no alternative solution. However, the zoological professionals and government agencies overseeing this transport have chosen what is best for these animals by moving them from life-threatening conditions into accredited facilities where they will be able to survive and thrive.
“Our zoos are committed to the safe future of these elephants”, said president/CEO of The Dallas Zoo Gregg Hudson.
The animals will receive the world class care that AZA-accredited facilities are known for in their spacious new facilities. Further, each social group of elephants will remain together. The large facilities offer room to roam, play, and forage in social herd settings.
If you’d like to learn more about the conservation partnership, please visit Room for Rhinos.