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Topeka's Elephant Decision Could Come Soon

One of two elephants housed at the Topeka Zoo. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)A decision on what to do with two elderly elephants at the Topeka Zoo could be made in the coming weeks. Zoo officials and city leaders are considering their options for the future of Sunda and Tembo. The choices range from keeping the elephants and facility “as is”…, expanding the program… or moving the elephants to another facility, out of Topeka. Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says expanding the program to one that could include more elephants -- and possibly a breeding program -- is an exciting option, but would take a significant commitment.

The USDA recently cited the zoo for violating the Animal Welfare Act and animal rights groups are urging the zoo to move Sunda and Tembo to a sanctuary. The city is appealing the USDA’s latest inspection report.  Zoo Director Brendan Wiley says the elephants are healthy and the zoo is meeting all requirements. Consultants and zoo officials are completing a report that they'll present to the Topeka City Council, which will make the final decision. There are two public meetings scheduled on the issue. They're slated for October 9th and 13th.