Florida wildlife refuge to take 30 former circus elephants

A Florida wildlife sanctuary is building a new 2,500-acre home for former circus elephants

YULEE, Fla. -- A Florida wildlife sanctuary is building a new, spacious home for former circus elephants.

The White Oak Conservation Center north of Jacksonville is expected to welcome 30 Asian elephants to a 2,500-acre (1,010-hectare) refuge starting next year, the center announced Wednesday.

White Oak is owned by philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter.

The elephants will have access to nine interlinked areas that will include a variety of vegetation and habitat types, such as wetlands, meadows and woods, a news release said. The center also is constructing 11 waterholes and three barns with veterinary equipment.

White Oak covers about 17,000 acres (6,880 hectares). It's already home to several endangered and threatened species, including rhinos, okapi, bongos, zebras, condors, dama gazelles and cheetahs.