Sedgwick County Zoo could be losing elephant attraction

WICHITA, Kansas – Whether you are young or young at heart everyone loves the zoo.

Especially, the elephants but these endangered creatures could soon be extinct from their exhibit.

The plan has always been to expand the elephants home to a large space, but due to a troubling economy, and cuts from Sedgwick County, the expansion hasn’t happened.

“We got our budget cut as everybody else did, and it cost us about $2 million.”

Scott Och with the Segwick Zoological Society says the plan is to get things back on track.

Relying on county commissioners like Dave Unruh, who will vote on a 5-year plan worth more than $31 million to help with employee salaries infrastructure repairs, and of course food and medical supplies for the animals.

“A five year funding agreement seems pretty reasonable to me.”

The cost to build a new exhibit will cost $10 to $12 million, and if the county doesn’t get on board by Wednesday, Cinda and Stephanie could be gone by as early as next month.

It’s all due to a new rule from the American Zoological Association that now requires all zoo’s to have at least three elephants including a male.

The current space just isn’t big enough.

“We have to by October file a plan with the American Zoological Association. Here’s our three year plan, here’s what we’re going to do to raise money to build a new exhibit,” said Och.

Unruh says he believes the 5-year-plan will pass the board but not with out answering some tough questions from the county.

“Hopefully, they can do something about it and keep them around cause it would be really strange without them.”

The Zoological Society will present their plans before Sedgwick County Commissioners.

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