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ELEPHANTS FINALLY OFF TO US AFTER 26HRS IN CAGES

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BY STANLEY KHUMALO... TIMES OF SWAZILAND-11-Mar-2016

SIKHUPHE – The 17 elephants, destined for three zoos in the United States of America, finally left the country yesterday afternoon. The elephants were flown out of the country at 12:45pm.

This was a day after the social media and online publications had reported that they had left the country. The over 20 tonne consignment of elephants left through the King Mswati III International Airport, after spending over 26 hours in cages at the airport.

Melusi Dlamini, who is Big Game Parks (BGP) Marketing Coordinator, confirmed the departure.

“This is the second export of elephants from Swaziland – a result of good conservation. In 2004, 11 elephants went to San Diego Wild Animal Park in California, and to Lowry Park Zoo in Florida, where they are breeding well. Today’s elephants go to Dallas Zoo in Texas, Sedgewick County Zoo in Kansas, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska.

The elephants were flown out in steel cages, tailor-made for each animal in a Boeing 747, the largest plane yet to land at KMIII International Airport.” The elephants left the country amid a wide outcry from various activists who were against the exportation. Leaving the airport, the elephants were with a number of teams who were assigned to cater for their well-being. This team included veterinarians, who were to make sure that the elephants did not suffer from fatigue, following that they had spent over 24 hours at the airport.

Also, part of the entourage was the personnel from the three zoos that bought the elephants and the trip facilitator, Mike Bester. Bester said the elephants were to travel for 27.5 hours in the air. However, he explained that the trip will first have a stop in Senegal, Dakar. This is where the Boeing 747 was expected to refuel before setting off for the USA. Bester did not state how many hours they would spend in Senegal.

“It’s going to be long trip but we pray that all goes well,” further said Dlamini.


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