Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo says it is working quickly with two other U.S. zoos to bring 18 elephants to the U.S. now that their permit has been approved.
Federal officials determined the plan to import 18 elephants from Africa, six of which will live at Omaha’s zoo, will have no significant environmental impact.
The Dallas Zoo and Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, will also each get six elephants.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service published the environmental impact findings Friday on the federal register and regulations.gov.
“The proposed action of issuing the import permit for the 18 elephants is the preferred action. As evaluated in the [environmental assessment], the proposed action is not expected to result in significant effects to the human environment within the meaning of [National Environmental Policy Act of 1969] and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality,” the agency said.
The Omaha Zoo issued a statement Friday with more details about the efforts to help the elephants.
“Since July, when the elephants were removed from the parks, they have lived in temporary holding areas called bomas. As drought conditions throughout the region worsened, the zoos proactively supported efforts to import food from other regions to feed the elephants, as well as rhinos that are living in the parks and where adequate food resources are not available.”
The Omaha Zoo will house one male and five female elephants in an exhibit currently under construction as part of the African Grasslands expansion.
According to the zoo’s website, it will be the largest herd room in North America, measuring 29,000 square feet.