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Two elephants from San Diego arrive at L.A. Zoo

November 11, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Elephants Two Asian elephants have arrived at their new home, the Los Angeles Zoo, about a month before the scheduled opening of their new exhibit.

Tina and Jewel, estimated to be 43 to 45 years old, are on indefinite loan from the San Diego Zoo. They were transported in specially designed elephant crates and accompanied by their former curators, keepers and veterinarians, Los Angeles Zoo officials said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Zoo’s six-acre, $42-million Asian elephant exhibit is scheduled to open Dec.16.

The zoo has been under fire for its treatment of the large mammals. Animal-rights advocates argue that zoos do not provide enough space for the roaming animals and that elephants need a stable living environment, rather than being transferred from place to place.

Tina and Jewel arrived at the San Diego Zoo just over a year ago and had to be nursed back to health after spending years with a Texas circus trainer who was cited by the U.S. Agriculture Department for inadequate veterinary care.

When they arrived at their new Los Angeles home, the female elephants "vocalized with trumpets, squeaks and chirps," officials said in the statement.

Billy, a 25-year-old elephant who already lives at the zoo, stood outside the barn, watching the new arrivals and occasionally vocalizing towards them.

Staff from the San Diego Zoo will stay in Los Angeles for awhile to help ease the transition of the elephants, who have lived together for nearly 30 years.

-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: Tina and Jewel. Credit: San Diego Zoo

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