To provide a safe haven for 17 African elephants, the Dallas Zoo this year demonstrated impressive leadership and collaboration with conservation officials in Swaziland, Southern Africa, and with two other accredited U.S. facilities. The elephants had destroyed trees and other vegetation in the managed parks where they lived, making the land uninhabitable for more critically endangered rhinos.

As a result, Swaziland managers planned to kill the elephants in order to focus on rhino conservation. Through a collaborative conservation effort, the elephants were flown instead to the U.S. aboard a chartered 747 jet in a carefully planned operation, arriving on March 11, 2016.

All three U.S. partner zoos—Dallas Zoo; Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE.; and Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, KS.—have expansive new habitats that set the standard for an advanced way of managing elephants in human care, allowing for socialization, herd behavior and extensive walking. Public support for the rescue has been overwhelming, given the critical situation in the animals’ native land. African elephants face many threats, ranging from human encroachment on their habitat to extreme poaching, which claims the lives of nearly 100 elephants every day.

S&W is incredibly proud to partner with clients that are doing extraordinary mission-driven work. Our clients demonstrate outstanding leadership within their respective fields. In celebration of Thanksgiving, S&W is grateful for the many ways our clients make the world a better place for all—people, animals and our planet—through conservation efforts.

To see updates on the Dallas Zoo’s blog regarding their new elephants click here.