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Elephants Connie and Shaba head to San Diego

Connie and Shaba have lived together in the Reid Park Zoo for 30 years.

Elephants Connie and Shaba head to San Diego

CREATED Feb 29, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It was a bittersweet morning at the Reid Park Zoo. There were tears, laughs and goodbyes as Connie and Shaba began the journey to San Diego.

Jim Schnormeier, with the Reid Park Zoo, tells 9 On Your Side it's difficult to see the elephants go, but zookeepers are excited about their new home at the San Diego Zoo.

Originally, the pair was to be separated after 30 years together at the Reid Park Zoo. But, after weeks of public outcry, the city council decided to keep Connie and Shaba together.

The entire zoo shut down as workers loaded the elephants onto a truck Wednesday morning.

Schnormeier says Connie and Shaba were aware their surroundings seemed unfamiliar, but they should get more comfortable as the trip progresses. They should arrive in San Diego around 5 or 6 Wednesday evening, but will make several "welfare" stops along the way to ensure the elephants are secure.

Tucson Police led the elephant load to the interstate. Arizona Highway Patrol will provide escort to the California state line, where the California Highway Patrol will take over.