Construction is underway on the new elephant exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo. Having a herd of more than two elephants is now required or zoos risk losing accreditation. As KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports, zoo leaders say this new exhibit will not only be good for the elephants, it will also be good for the local economy.
Backhoes, dozers and dump trucks are working on a five acre area on the south side of the zoo. This unused land will be transformed into a $10.6 million “elephant management complex.”
The Sedgwick County Zoo will lose its accreditation to have elephants if its officials can't find a way to upgrade the animals' enclosure.
Yesterday, the Sedgwick County Zoological Society asked county commissioners to pay $5.3 million dollars of the cost of a new elephant barn, which is estimated to cost $10.5 million-dollars. Zoo officials say the commissioners have three weeks to consider the funding before they move to relocate the animals.
The zoo has housed two African elephants, named Stephanie and Cinda, since 1972.
Sedgwick county residents Thursday had a second chance to publicly voice concerns about the recommended 2013 budget.
About 50 people gathered in the commission chambers at the county court house to listen and express concerns about proposed cuts outlined in the county manager’s 2013 recommended budget.
The budget includes broad cuts to eliminate the $9.3 million deficit, including funding reductions to the County Extension Center and 4-H programs, Judge Riddel Boy’s Ranch, senior centers and the Sedgwick County Zoo.