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Asian elephants arrive to Oklahoma City Zoo after weeks of travel

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Zoo has some new family members. Chai and Bamboo, the two Asian elephants from Seattle were forced to take a detour to the San Diego Zoo following severe weather, have finally arrived.

It has been a long journey, but both elephants made it safe and sound.

After detours, temporary stays, and hours on the road, Chai and Bamboo are in their new home at the Oklahoma City Zoo. It took nearly 30 hours for them to get here from San Diego, but the elephants had a full care staff with them the whole way here.

"When they came off the trailer, they walked right into the stall, started eating, had a drink of water," said Jennifer D'Agostino, Dir. of Veterinary Services.

It was around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday when Chai and Bamboo arrived at their new home. Hours later, already active in the daylight, they were scoping out their new place.

"Everything with elephants is big," said Dwight Lawson.

Coming from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, protesters have fought tooth and nail to keep them out of the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Many said Oklahoma weather isn't fit for the elephants. They also expressed concern over the nearby Zoo Amphitheater.

However, Woodland Park Zoo handpicked Oklahoma City because of our successful elephant breeding program and the multi-generational herd already in place.

"Elephants are social animals, and so the more companionship and diversity that you can provide, the better," said Lawson.

For the next 30 days, both elephants will be in quarantine while zoo experts do health tests, looking for signs of any illness they could potentially give to the other elephants.

"The things that we're most worried about are parasites in the intestinal tract and bacteria, things like that," said D'Agostino.

The zoo will be health testing while integrating the newbies with the rest of the herd.

"We have such a love of elephants in Oklahoma City, that they're going to get a lot of love here, a lot of attention and everyone is going to want to come and see them all the time," said D'Agostino.

If you noticed the ankle bracelets on the elephants, those are being removed.

The chains were used for safety reason during the transport, like people use seat belts during travel.

 

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