06/09/2013 11:03 am ET

National Elephant Center In Central Florida To House Dozens Of Retired Animals (VIDEO)

The elephants of North America now have a place to retire -- sunny Florida.

The National Elephant Center, a 225-acre home for retired or unwanted elephants, welcomed it's first four residents in May. The center is located in Fellsmere, Fla., which provides an ideal climate and environment for the African and Asian elephants that will eventually roam there, including watering holes and areas to wallow in mud. (Take a look at a plan of the center here)

The $15 million complex is supported by a network of zoos and wildlife organizations and will eventually house dozens of elephants long-term.

The center will not be open to the public.

Asian elephants are currently listed as endangered and African elephants are considered vulnerable. Demand for elephant ivory in Asia has brought widespread poaching, even within protected habitats.



The National Elephant Center