Former circus elephants arrive at new wildlife sanctuary in Florida

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FLORIDA (AP) — Former circus elephants are starting to arrive at a new wildlife sanctuary in north Florida.

The White Oak Conservation Center announced Monday that a dozen female Asian elephants have already arrived at the Yulee refuge.

It’s located north of Jacksonville. Up to 20 more elephants are expected once more areas are completed at the planned 2,500-acre space.

The pachyderms are coming from the Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk County.

Most of the animals previously traveled with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus until they were retired in 2016.

According to a post by White Oak Conservation Center, 12 female elephants were moved in customized trucks to the facility. They were released into two large paddocks adjacent to a specially designed bar and were given access to a large habitat of pine forests with ponds, wetlands and open grasslands.

“The elephants can now choose to stay near the barn or wander in the woods, wallow in mud, or swim in the pond,” the post states. “We are excited to provide these elephants with their new home and look forward to bringing the others to White Oak as we complete the next phases of the 2,500-acre project!”

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