Mila the elephant off to the US

An elephant at Franklin Zoo which killed its keeper is heading to a new home in the United States.

Franklin Zoo director and keeper Dr Helen Schofield was killed by Mila, an ex-circus elephant, in April.

The zoo was forced to close shortly afterwards and started the process of looking for new homes for all of the animals.

A new elephant manager has been employed by the Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust to ascertain the best facility in the US for Mila as well as facilitate the elephant's day to day care, and oversee the travel logistics and extensive permits required to transport Mila to her new home.

The Trust says it wants to find a home for Mila that will allow her to socialize with other African elephants and provide expert care as she ages.

The elephant manager will arrive in New Zealand towards the end of October or early November after a tour of US facilities.

It is hoped that Mila will be ready to travel to her new home by March or April 2013 and the Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust will be fundraising for this very expensive and complex process.

The Zoo and Aquarium Association of Australasia has already found homes for most of the exotic animals.

The re-homing process will take some months and the Franklin Zoo & Wildlife Sanctuary continues to care for the animals while their new homes and travel arrangements are being prepared.

The Sanctuary says that all domestic animals are now safely installed in their new homes.

 Auckland Zoo continues to provide expertise and support to the Franklin staff, Mila and to the Franklin Zoo & Wildlife Sanctuary.

Donations towards Mila's care travel and future can be made on the web site or cheques payable to: Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust, 83 Ridge Road, Tuakau RD 4, Auckland 2694, New Zealand.

Or by Direct Credit: Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust, The National Bank of New Zealand, Papakura branch account: 060401 0327303 00.

- Hamilton News

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