Maine elephants return to Oklahoma following death of caretaker

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HOPE, Maine — Two Maine elephants are returning back to their former home in Oklahoma as planned following the death of their caretaker.

Police say one of the elephants apparently accidentally stepped on James Laurita after he fell in their enclosure last week in Hope, Maine. The organization's board then announced that elephants Hope and Opal would be going back to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, Oklahoma.

Hope Elephants' board says in a statement Monday that the two elephants left the facility and are headed for Oklahoma. The board says Laurita wanted the animals sent back to Oklahoma if Hope had no other qualified handlers and veterinarians to care for them. The statement says the facility is "assuring they receive the best possible care."

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