New elephants for Auckland zoo
Two female elephants will be brought over from Sri Lanka at a cost of $3.2 million, but Auckland Council's Strategy and Finance Chair Penny Webster said there would be zero cost to ratepayers.
The Asian elephants will provide company for Burma, who has been alone since her companion Kashin died nearly two years ago.
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken said the focus was now on locating two suitable animals, stating "once the right pair are found, they will have to undergo a quarantine programme in their country of origin. Then, accompanied by a small team of elephant specialists, they'll be sent by air to the island of Niue for further medical checks and quarantine procedures before coming to Auckland."
On arrival at Auckland Zoo, the new elephants will be gradually introduced to Burma, allowing her to establish herself as the head of the group.
They are expected to arrive in September next year.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown welcomed the decision, saying it was "great news" for the city's children, adding "few of us get the chance to see these wonderful animals in the wild and it's great to be able to experience these wonderful creatures up close in a world class zoo environment."
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