New Milwaukee zoo exhibit to improve standards for elephants

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A new elephant exhibit at a zoo in Milwaukee gives the animals a bigger and more comfortable enclosure.

It also gives them more things to do and barriers between zookeepers and elephants.

The $16.6 million upgrade at the Milwaukee County Zoo was done to improve standards for elephants in zoos, among other things. The treatment of elephants has been at the center of a debate in recent years, including the use of elephants as circus animals.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums says only 62 of the 236 U.S. accredited zoos hold elephants. That’s down from 77 elephants 15 years ago.

Association spokesman Rob Vernon says part of the reason is that the association instituted specific requirements for elephants in 2011. Some zoos were unable to afford the requirements.

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