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Six Elephants From Swaziland Arrive At Sedgwick County Zoo

Nadya Faulx

It sounds like the plot of the movie “Operation Dumbo Drop”: Seventeen elephants flying on a massive airplane from Swaziland in southern Africa to zoos across the U.S. But it is real, and it's here.

The elephants landed at Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport this afternoon. A crowd of onlookers gathered at the Sedgwick County Zoo as its six new residents arrived in giant crates on two flatbed trucks.

Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
Crowds wait for the elephants to arrive at the zoo.

Zoo spokeswoman Melissa Graham says it was special to have such good community support for the new elephants. She cried as the elephants made their long-anticipated arrival.

“It’s just a very exciting day, and just very emotional. We’ve been waiting for this for so long and we’re very excited," she said. "I’m going to start crying again, just thinking about it.”

The rest of the 17 elephants went to the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska, and the Dallas Zoo. An animal rights group filed a lawsuit to block the relocation from a national park in Swaziland, but a judge struck down the restraining order.


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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.