CA Sanctuary Says Killer Elephant Still Welcome
By SUE MANNING Associated Press
LOS ANGELES April 27, 2012 (AP)
An African elephant is still welcome at a California sanctuary after killing a zookeeper who was preparing to move the animal from New Zealand, the sanctuary owner said Thursday.
Pat Derby's Performing Animal Welfare Society in San Andreas was going to be home to the 39-year-old elephant now called Mila after being known as Jumbo during nearly 30 years with the circus.
However, its fate is uncertain after Helen Schofield, a veterinarian and owner of Franklin Zoo near Auckland, was crushed to death Wednesday.
"We will have to negotiate with whoever becomes her new owner," Derby said.
For the past four years, Mila has been at the zoo while Schofield worked to place her elsewhere. Derby said she and Schofield had been working on the move for about two years.
Schofield was training Mila to live in a crate during the trip. She exchanged emails with Derby a month ago saying the training was going well and she was feeling good about the move.
"We didn't actually have a date," Derby said. "It was sort of whenever crate training was finished and they felt she was comfortable enough to make the trip."