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Sedgwick County approves expansion of zoo

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- The Sedgwick County Zoo will get about $31 million from the county over the next five years, giving zoo supporters a boost in efforts to expand the elephant exhibit.

The Sedgwick County Commission voted Wednesday to spend $30 million over the next five years at the zoo, with nearly all the money going to staff and maintenance costs.

The increased financial support will allow the zoological society to begin raising $10 million to $12 million for an expanded elephant exhibit.

The zoo has two elephants and needs at least one more to meet new requirements for accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Zoo officials delayed starting the capital campaign without a commitment from the county to maintain current and future exhibits and address delayed maintenance needs.