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Treasure Coast Essay

National Elephant Center coming along

The National Elephant Center in Indian River County is coming along.  The Treasure Coast already is home to the Save the Chimps Sanctuary, west of Fort Pierce in St. Lucie County.  If all goes according to plan, up to three dozen pachyderms will reside for a while or the rest of their lives on the 225-acre spread three miles north of Fellsmere. Workers have been clearing trees and putting in a water system for the center’s initial phase.  The first elephants are expected in 2013.  The National Elephant Center is a non-profit conservation entity set up by zoos around the country accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  It will provide a place for aging elephants, young male elephants who need to be separated from the herd, and female elephants giving birth.  The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County called on the Fellsmere City Council to hold a special public forum to explore concerns about the treatment of the elephants and the impact of the center on the surrounding environment.  The council turned down the request.  But it’s the policy of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums not to move the elephants around using the controversial “bull hooks.”  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.