SAN DIEGO—An elephant that accidentally killed a New Zealand zookeeper last year has a new home in California.

Mila, a 7,600-pound African elephant, arrived at the San Diego Zoo on Nov. 14 after a 12-hour flight to Los Angeles and a truck ride to San Diego, the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/17WuFoV) reported.

Mila remains under quarantine until testing ensures she is free of tuberculosis, which is common among pachyderms.

The former circus elephant crushed 42-year-old Helen Schofield on April 25, 2012, at the Franklin Zoo near Auckland.

Mila became frightened after brushing an electric security wire, grabbed the veterinarian and zoo operator with her powerful trunk, squeezed and lifted her into the air in front of horrified visitors.

A witness said she appeared to be trying to protect Schofield and a coroner's investigation ruled the death an accident.

"She never meant to hurt Helen, I'm convinced of that," Jenny Chung, Schofield's sister, told the Times. "She's lovely and she deserves to live like an elephant."

After Schofield's death, trustees closed the facility and dispersed the animals. Placing Mila was difficult and there was discussion about killing her, but finally a deal was reached to bring her to Southern California.

Chung and nine other New Zealanders, all wearing "Team Mila" jackets, arrived with the elephant and they are at the zoo's elephant center daily, the Times said.


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The zoo wants to introduce Mila to its six other elephants and eventually place her on display but the timing is uncertain. Mila is about 40 years old.

"It will be up to Mila," said Scott Morford, the zoo's senior elephant keeper.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com