The Florida citrus industry is one of Florida’s most important industries. It’s actually a huge part of the Florida brand. Almost as soon as you drive across the state line, you begin to see the Florida auto tags adorned with the bright orange fruit. But, recently a citrus farm in Fellsmere, Florida found a new use for the land: it’s currently home to four African elephants.
The newly opened National Elephant Center is a 200-acre center operated by the U.S. Zoo community to house displaced elephants. The elephants that are helped may be placed temporarily or permanently. The four elephants that are currently residing at the center have their permanent home in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Did you know that elephants are in danger of going extinct? The center’s Executive Director, John Lehnhardt, said last year said 10 percent of the entire African population of elephants was poached for ivory last year, and in 10 to 15 years, there may be nothing left.
The center leased the citrus land for 40 years at $1 a year. This type of land is new to elephants and the current residents are really enjoying oranges. They have taught themselves how to pick the oranges with the end of their trunk and put them in their mouth. They eat roughly 300 oranges per day.
We are blessed to have this home for elephants in our backyard and making a second important use of Florida’s citrus land. Learn more about this incredible new center at http://www.nationalelephantcenter.org/