Legal fight over Sedgwick County Zoo’s new elephants ends


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A legal fight has ended over the Sedgwick County Zoo’s new African elephants.

Animal-rights group Friends of Animals dropped its lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approving the transport of 17 elephants from Swaziland to zoos in Wichita, Dallas and Omaha, The Wichita Eagle reports.

Friends of Animals’ lawyer Jennifer Best said dropping the suit was a tough decision that came down to how to best use the group’s time and resources.

“We decided that the best way to help these elephants at this point wasn’t through the court but instead working with our experts on a plan to better inform people about the lives that the elephants now have to live,” she said.

The Connecticut-based advocacy group filed the suit in February after the agency approved the transfer in January. The group argued that the agency didn’t consider the mental and physical toll on the elephants.

The zoos joined the government’s side and went ahead with the transfer about a month ago as a judge denied the group’s last-ditch effort to stop it.

Best said the group will work to halt future transfers of African elephants to American zoos.

“It’s possible that this could set an example for other countries who want to profit off of their wild elephants,” Best said.

Sedgwick County Zoo director Mark Reed said in an email that the zoo is happy that the legal process has concluded. The Fish and Wildlife Service declined the newspaper’s request for comment.


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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