The retirement of circus elephant Jumbo is being hailed as a victory by animal rights group Save Animals From Exploitation (Safe).
Jumbo, New Zealand's only African elephant, spent 28 years with the Weber Bros Circus before a decision last week to put her into retirement.
Weber Bros owner Harry Weber told The Dominion Post newspaper a group of specialists met in Auckland last week to discuss 36-year-old Jumbo's future.
Jumbo now belonged to the SPCA, and she had been temporarily rehomed at Franklin Zoo in Tuakau, south Auckland.
SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said plans were being made to raise money to send Jumbo to a United States elephant sanctuary, which could cost more than $100,000.
There was only one other elephant in the country, an Indian elephant, at Auckland Zoo.
Safe campaign director Hans Kriek said the organisation was thrilled Jumbo was on her way to becoming a free elephant.
Safe had campaigned for 25 years to free Jumbo and other circus animals.
Kriek said Jumbo had been deprived of the company of her own kind for almost her entire life.
If she went overseas, she would have the opportunity to be relocated and socialise with other elephants.