Forget peanuts. In the heart of Florida's citrus grove region, it's the oranges elephants are after.
At the newly opened National Elephant Center in Fellsmere, Fla., the pachyderms have discovered how to pluck the fruit from the trees with their trunks and pop it into their mouths.
Fresh Valencia oranges are not the only thing that makes the 200-acre center unique. It is also the only such site operated by the U.S. zoo community to house displaced elephants.
The center is open to two categories of the mammoth mammals: those sent for a limited stay by zoos that need to temporarily free up space for renovations or breeding; and elephants that need a permanent home when their previous institutional or private owners can no longer care for them.
The center's primary goal is to ensure the elephant's long-term survival. The animal is listed as endangered, or at high risk of extinction, in Asia, and vulnerable in Africa.
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Wildlife officials say 20 whales believed to be part of a pod found stranded in the Everglades this week were spotted Friday afternoon moving closer toward shore, a sign they may be reversing their earlier, positive course.