People Passionate About Elephants' Future, Many Speak Out For Topeka Exhibit

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A public meeting on the future of elephants at the Topeka Zoo drew a sizable crowd Saturday afternoon.

More than 70 people showed up to weigh in on the zoo's elephant exhibit.

People on both sides say they have the best interest of the exhibit's current residents, Sunda and Tembo, in mind, though one group wants to move the geriatric pachyderms to a Tennessee Sanctuary.

More than twice as many people spoke against it, saying they want to see the elephants stay here in Topeka.

"I want the elephants to stay here," Mario Peralta, a Topeka native, said. "I study elephants, I study tigers, in general, I study all the animals, their behavior. They're well maintained here."

"The thing that I think would be very difficult for [the zoo] to correct, would be providing enough space," Eleanor Harris, an attendee from Stovall who wanted to see the elephants retire, said. "The sanctuary, I understand, has thousands of acres." she said.

Topeka's city council will ultimately make a decision on the exhibit's future, though none of the council members was present at Tuesday's.

A consultant will visit the zoo Monday. He will be available to council members for any questions.

The council is expected to decide on the elephants' fate at its October 23rd meeting.