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Lyon elephants escape execution thanks to Monaco royals
Two elephants saved from euthanasia acter an outcry led by film star Brigitte Bardot were transferred from a zoo in Lyon to a ranch in southern France owned by Monaco’s royal family.
Princess Stéphanie of Monaco was present as the elephants, Baby and Nepal, were loaded into a container and lifted onto a lorry ahead of an eight-hour journey to the Monaco royals’ Roc Agel ranch in the south-eastern Alpes-Maritime region.
Health officials had ordered Baby and Nepal, who are aged 42 and 43, to be put down in December because they had almost certainly been infected with tuberculosis and could be a threat to other animals or visitors to Lyon’s Tête d’Or zoo.
But more than 11,000 people signed a petition against the killing and Bardot, an ardent animal-rights campaigner, threatened to copy actor Gérard Depardieu and move to Russia if it was carried out.
Their former owner, Pinder circus, called for President François Hollande to issue a stay of execution.
The elephants are to live in a 3,500-square-metre enclosure with a large wooden shelter and a pool, reports say.
More on France 24: Bardot threatens to follow Depardieu to Russia