Swaziland to send 18 elephants to American zoos

JOHANNESBURG: Some conservationists are opposing the planned relocation of 18 elephants from Swaziland to zoos in the United States, though a US official says the animal transfer can be done humanely and is permissible under international law.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service last month approved the relocation of 18 elephants from the southern African country to Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, and Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.

The service's associate director, Robert Dreher, told The Associated Press during a recent visit to South Africa that he recognizes the "humanitarian concerns" of people who oppose the elephant export. However, he says it does not threaten conservation of the species and adds that zoos play an important role in educating the public about wildlife and threats to it.