TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Louie the Elephant, who made headlines after attacking a zookeeper in 2010, left the Toledo Zoo Thursday.
The Toledo Zoo announced that Louie will be transferred to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska sometime in the fall, but officials moved the date up.
The Zoo released a statement saying that Louie has adjusted very quickly to the 17,000 pound crate he is going to be traveling in.
That, coupled with the cool weather Toledo has been having, led the Zoo to move up Louie's departure date.
"As always, Louie's safety and wellness are our primary concerns. We promise to keep you posted on the transfer and Louie's acclimation to his new home and herd in Omaha," the Zoo said in the statement.
Louie, a 14-year-old African elephant, was born at the Toledo Zoo and has spent his entire life there.
In 2010, Louie critically injured zookeeper Don Redfox in an attack inside the elephant cage, Redfox has worked with Louie since the elephant's birth.
The Toledo Zoo says Louie's move is a part of Species Survival Plan. The Henry Doorly Zoo plans on breeding Louie in an effort to increase the African elephant population.
"A lot of regular visitors, a lot of people that have grown up with him, people that have had sons and daughters born the same year as him, and are going to miss him greatly," said Ben Whitebread, the Elephant Manager at the Toledo Zoo.
"You hate to see as a parent your kids leave, you hate to see a pet lost, as a zookeeper, as an animal manager, animals come and go, and if they're long lived, you get those strong attachments," said Terry Webb, Director of Animal Programming
at the Toledo Zoo.
Louie has five females waiting for him in Omaha.
"He's of reproductive age, going to produce some offspring, they'll be raised, add all of these new offspring to the population, it's a great opportunity for him to do what zoo's mean," Webb said.
"We hope he ends up with a similar following as he had here, Omaha is a great zoo," Whitebread said.
Zoo officials say they do not know if Toledo will get another elephant or there is any chance of Louie or any of his offspring coming back.