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Might host elephants bound for Auckland Zoo

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 24, 2010) – Elephants from New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo could be quarantined in Niue later this year.

Agricultural authorities from Niue are in exploratory talks with the Zoo about establishing an offshore quarantine station on a one-acre block of land near the airport.

Niue’s Minister of Agriculture, Pokotoa Sipeli, says he’s due to meet Auckland Zoo officials for a second time about the possibility of quarantining three elephants.

The director of Niue’s Agriculture Department, Brendon Pasisi, says there was a programme with quarantining alpacas in the 1990s.

"With the requirements that they have with New Zealand biosecurity, there has to be a offshore quratantine station before they can be brought in, similar to the alpacas. Like for Australia they couldn’t bring alpacas directly from a single country direct to Australia, previously, so they had to have a secondary quarantine station offshore."

The Auckland Zoo says it is still working through its options about where elephants suitable for transfer to New Zealand may be available and what the quarantine requirements would be.

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