Goodbye to Babe and Sophie

July  18, 2013

The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley will soon have to say good-bye to its two aging elephants. On Tuesday, the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission voted unanimously to relocate the elephants, Babe and Sophie, to better facilities in a warmer climate.

Forest Preserve Commission President, Steve Ballard, says the decision wasn't easy. "Everybody loves these elephants at the zoo. I'm right along with them. It's sad to see the elephants are going to go. But, you know, we have to do what's best for those elephants, not just what's best for the zoo," he says.

Ballard says once they move, Niabi Zoo will still own the elephants, but won't be financially responsible for them anymore.

The Forest Preserve Commission and the zoo hope to find a new home for Babe and Sophie before winter. Niabi is currently the only zoo in Illinois with elephants.