The two elephants who have made Hope their home since 2012 have returned to Oklahoma, Hope Elephants posted on Facebook Monday, Sept. 15.

Members of the board announced following the unexpected death of Dr. Jim Laurita the elephants, which belong to Endangered Ark Foundation in Oklahoma, would return there but previously declined to release a timeline.

The statement from Hope Elephants reads:

As planned, Rosie and Opal have left Hope to return to the elephant retirement ranch run by the Endangered Ark Foundation from which they came. This foundation has owned the girls since before and throughout our involvement with them and so this was the only place to which they could return. Moreover, Jim always spoke highly of the care retired elephants receive there and that, in the event something were to happen to him, Rosie and Opal were to be returned there while we re-evaluate our plans for the future. Therefore, we are not saying goodbye to them but continuing, as always, our commitment to assuring they receive the best possible care. The exact nature of our ongoing relationship with the girls, and where they will ultimately live, will be determined by a thoughtful assessment of the who, how, what and where questions regarding the future of Hope Elephants which we, as a community, need to consider in the coming months. As we move beyond the overwhelming shock and mourning with which we have all been wrestling since last Tuesday, we are committed to honoring Jim's vision as well as that of the countless supporters who have made Hope Elephants the fabulous success it has become. In the meantime, you will be able to see photos of our girls on the Hope Elephants website as they continue to receive the therapies Jim pioneered and receive the kind of caring they have come to enjoy while with us. With regard to the girls’ departure, due to the large number of supporters and friends of Hope Elephants, it would have been logistically impossible to have arranged public visits while ensuring that Rosie, Opal and the Laurita family were allowed calm and peace during such a traumatic time. We appreciate your understanding that the decision was made in the best interests of all of them. Together, we will move forward into the light and warmth of each new day, continuing to fulfill the mission of Hope Elephants by evolving and redefining it so that we can assure Jim Laurita's legacy.