By: Kate Pabich
Niabi Zoo is losing a main attraction. The zoo's two elephants, Babe and Sophie, are leaving the Quad Cities..for good.
The cold harsh winters have proven too much for 37-year-old, Babe, and 43-year-old, Sophie.
Tuesday night the Rock Island County Board made the tough decision to move them out of town.
Family trips to see the elephants are times Nick Ulloa says his kids beg for.
"That was one of the reasons we came here."
But soon, elephant signs will disappear along with Babe and Sophie, and Nick's kids will have to rely on Babar and Dumbo to get their elephant fix.
"We're going to have to go on vacation or travels to see them because they're not going to be just a 10 minute drive away."
Zoo director, Marc Heinzman, says is necessary.
"I hate to see them go but at the same time you want to see what's best for them."
He says what's best for them, means getting them out of the snow.
"A lot of zoo's in the Northern climates are starting to do that as well because we want to do what's best for the animals."
But Babe and Sophie aren't going on the auction block. Henizman says Niabi will still own the pachyderms, but loan them to a Southern zoo. Meaning they make the decisions.
"We want to make sure they have a good life for the rest of their lives even if they're not at Niabi Zoo."
From dabbling in showbiz with the Ringling Brothers, to spending time at an elephant retirement home, Babe and Sophie have lived pretty good lives. Lives that will definitely be missed.
Heinzman says he thinks Niabi has been quite memorable for Babe and Sophie, because after all, an elephant never forgets.
Babe and Sophie are currently the only elephants left in Illinois, the zoo hasn't decided when or where they will go yet, but they're hoping to move them before winter hits again.