27 Apr 2012

US park still willing to take elephant

6:28 pm on 27 April 2012

An elephant that killed its keeper at a North Island zoo looks set to be relocated to the United States.

Helen Schofield died on Wednesday after being crushed by the animal called Mila at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary in the town of Tuakau near Auckland.

At the time of her death, Dr Schofield had been in talks with California zoo Paws Park, which re-homes former circus animals.

Paws Park owner Pat Derby says Mila was known for being temperamental and had had a bad life in the circus.

Ms Derby says the park will still take the female elephant in, but New Zealanders will need to raise the money required to transport her, estimated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A group, Mila's Angels, has been established to help organise fundraising, alongside the Franklin Zoo.

The elephant will remain in New Zealand for at least the next six months while the Department of Labour investigates Dr Schofield's death.

Franklin Zoo says rumours about euthanising Mila are upsetting and untrue.