And here we are, DRDOOLITTLE, years later, and Connie is dead. They separated her and Shaba in San Diego, and Connie soon thereafter died from a compound of illnesses due to a lifetime of captivity on a half acre. The story I heard through the grapevine was SD Zoo staff had the decency to bring Shaba in to be with her during her last moments. And as she passed, people there (who I probably don't like much, but nonetheless) claim Shaba put forth the most mournful cry. I still get super teared up and it kills me that we were not successful at moving them to a sanctuary instead, together. We tried so hard. For literally years, and over two campaigns.
We are doing elephants a tremendous disservice by keeping them in any form of captivity for profit. If you have any doubt about that, watch An Apology to Elephants: http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/an-apolog…
There's nothing extreme about me other than my compassion, ZOO FAN. Maybe one day you'll have some.
Don't understand the above comment's logic, much less the bad grammar. I'm not understanding why a relative by marriage's record has anything to do with someone's job. Is the brother-in-law working at a school there?
Like the column, though. Seems to be a clear-headed look at what's become a local soap opera.
"Can't we all just get along....:Sorry Tom. When SUSD hires and keeps a district head who is a train wreck what do you expect. Guess you wrote this before the world found out his brother in law who is a felon. Guess its OK to sell dope and then work with kids. Would SUSD hire a teacher with a record like that? I doubt it.
"...locally grown greens..." Ya mean like the volunteer who gave the giraffes the oleander branches that killed one & damn near killed a second one? Yeah...real warm that one was.
Have you seen the recent video on Wimp of the two elephants reunited after nearly 25 yaers. Very touching. Our zoo, of course, is going in the opposite direction.
Well, at least Reid Park Zoo gives their giraffes fresh-cut locally grown greens. Warms the cockles of my heart.
fraud fraud fraud! Throw all involved in a human zoo (jail)!
Great article, thanks for looking at this from the elephants perspective. Animals don't live in zoos, they die in zoos. However you spin it, it's captivity. And breeding in captivity for captivity is immoral and unethical.
Animals are not commodities, they are moral equals.
I have been professionally involved with zoos for more than 40 years (director of Seattle's Zoo and of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum) and am increasingly of the view that thanks in large part to the AZA and to the rise of marketers in their decision making processes, zoos are becoming increasingly irrelevant, and are heading into a cul de sac of their own making.
The vitriolic way they have responded to the emergence of the two superb Elephant Sanctuaries in Tennessee and California is clear evidence of the depth of their lack of ethics. Sadly, we need some sort of public natural history institution to help encourage our urban and suburban citizenry to develop greater respect for and appreciation of Nature, but zoos — which have such potential in this regard — are moving further and further away from achieving this.
For the past ten years I have focused on the needs of captive elephants, and based upon what I have learned, especially from researchers of wild elephant behaviors and social structures, I am strongly convinced that urban zoos can not begin to meet the complex needs of these extremely intelligent and naturally vigorous beings.
It is a great encouragement to read the Weekly's Editorial. Just a decade ago something like this would never have been published. Progress is definitely being made. The zoo, however, are not only fighting it, but walking backwards.
Wonderful, well researched article! Thank you to the writers who spent the time to get the real facts. Elephants are sentient beings, just like humans in so many ways, with their tight family bonds, compassion, and emotions. Seeing them in circuses and zoos grieves me greatly. I implore this zoo to fulfill their obligations to these 2 wonderful elephants, and send them to a sanctuary.
"…Stress…in animals or humans…. Chronic or traumatic stress can…impair genes involved in neuron and synapse generation…compromised immunology, and other physical problems.... --Dr. Gay Bradshaw http://tiny.cc/mugnb
The science is HERE! Don’t kill these elephants!
The fact that monies were raised with the promise of keeping these elephants together constitutes fraud. Shame on the zoo officials for lying to the public to raise money. Sadly I believe both Connie and Shaba will not survive this "mad adventure" the "brilliant" people at the zoo have planned. My heart aches that these animals have been sentenced to death and the well meaning donors have unwittingly contributed to their demise. Also the AZA should be exposed for the corrupt money hungry organization it is. I am disgusted with all of this. Thank you.
Excellent, excellent editorial. What would make fascinating reading is an investigation into the ties between circuses (especially Feld/Ringling) and zoos.
If you want to read more about the horrific story of the four San Diego elephants, of their transport and relocation to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and Caldwell Zoo in Tyler TX the link is below. Again, the poor elephants, as slaves once were, have no say in their lives, where they go or who they are with. The death of Wankie enroute is especially egregious. There is no scare tactic here, this is what happens when their adult lives, not cute babies anymore, are in the hands of those with hubris.
http://www.idablog.org/elephants/never-for… (Even if the public can't stomach to read it, it is more food for fodder for the reporters of this paper who are willing to do their research.)
Thank you to the writer and editor of this article. You took the responsible route and very clearly outlined the issues facing elephants in zoos and in particular the plight of Connie and Shaba. Thank you also for cutting through to the less attractive aspects of the aza. They very clearly are using their animals strictly for profit with little concern for their welfare. To separate these long time companions, reverse their story about their connection and pursue a risky transfer is shameful to say the least. Thank you again for a well written article.
What a pantload...the AZA needs to be disbanded & has needed to be for 25 years. They're nothing but a bunch of wildeyed politicos, every bit as much as the HSUS bigwhigs are. Also, this current crop of Reid Park Zoo 'administrators' (everybody higher than Sr Keepers in the hierarchy) need to be dropped headfirst down one of the abandoned mineshafts west of town. It's a damned shame Ivo Poglayan is so old. He was the best thing that ever happened to that zoo as adminstrator from mid 70s to mid or late 80s. I never liked the guy, but it's also too bad Mike FLint took an early retirement package to get out from under-he was the 2nd best thing that ever happened to that zoo! All the BS started when Steve McKusker took over after Ivo retired & Flint jumped ship & has gotten nothing but worse over time. I'm an ex VP of Docents (before the city took them over & ruined that element of the zoo as well) & know well of what I speak!
If Connie and Shaba both die of grief within a year of being separated can the officials at Greed Park Zoo be accused of Murder since they were warned that it would happen. Are the officials at Greed Park Zoo so mentally deficient and morally bankrupt that they would separate Connie and Shaba after 40 years especially since the zoo used the emotional link between the elephants to extort millions of dollars from concerned citizens to keep the two together. Why don't the officials at the Greed Park Zoo take their degrees to the Chicago Stock Yards where their murder of innocent animals wont be noticed by anybody and they can kill to their hearts content without any criticism from the public.
OMG!!! Finally someone in the media "gets it." Thank You!
Though the AZA is fighting for the life of the elephants it trades because of the rising popularity and righteousness of progressive sanctuaries, it has not stopped this animal broker from forcing zoos to have breeding programs in order to keep accreditation - more captive elephants is the name of the game here, not survival of the species. If the AZA was to be interested in that, they would be donating to anti-poaching and anti-smuggling organizations which go wanting while criminal gangs exterminate almost every species for China's literal appetite. But they are not contributing to the actual survival of the species, they are contributing to themselves. The AZA bully tactic is to threaten to withdraw accreditation as they did to Detroit, with Toronto Zoo being the latest to make their zoo director paranoid - this after the AZA claiming what stars zoos both had been.
However, if this paper really wants a Pulitzer, delve into the murk of the relationship between the AZA and the USDA/APHIS, Animal Care office under Chester Gipson. The word alleged really does not need to be used because the AZA has publicly stated that Animal Care should adopt the AZA's protocols, and so Animal Care has. Gipson must approve every transfer of an elephant (circus or zoo), including Connie & Shaba. But it blindly goes along with what the AZA wants. Gipson's lack of enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act truly warrants a congressional investigation which is about the only thing to get his office to straighten up and fly right. Representative Jim Moran has had to introduce bill HR 3359 in order to stop the egregious length of time circus animals must travel all year long. None of it for the welfare of the animals to which the act states it must be complied.
In the case of Tina & Jewel, very elderly & overused Asian circus elephants, though sanctuaries offered to take them, Gipson approved a move to San Diego Zoo where the established elephants there did not like them, nor let them integrate. They spent most of their time in their "garage with patio." They are now on loan to the LA Zoo where a woman just hopped the fence to "pet" them, thanks to good design of a brand new enclosure. What is interesting here is KTLA reported several times that the woman got into the "sanctuary." Is this the new AZA spin, that zoos are sanctuaries? Screaming kids with their obnoxious noise and the lack of privacy 12/7 disqualify any zoo as a sanctuary. Sanctuaries are places of peace and quiet of mind, plus the most important ingredient, space which no zoo, redesigned or not, can provide.
In the case of Connie & Shaba the cavalier attitude of zoo officials and the AZA is astounding considering not just the aggressiveness to Tina & Jewel in the Asian compound, but the fact that an African was just killed by another African in San Diego. Normally when there is an attack in the wild the elephant can get away, but in a zoo it has nowhere to go (18 elephants crammed in 6 acres). Shaba will be the one on the outs and just as much a shock to her to have unhappy strangers in the midst. The lesson should have been learned when the African elephants were captured in Swaziland and sent to San Diego. In order to make room the SD zoo sent their two Africans, Tatima & Peaches to Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago, much decried by elephant behaviorists and vets. Within 2 years both died when they could have been in a sanctuary, especially PAWS in CA with similar weather.
There appears to be no bounds of hubris by the 1%ers when 99% of the public understands that this bonded pair should be able to stay together.
Take me and leave the elephants alone.
If you think that the bonds elephants form over time are any less than what humans form, then take your PhD's and place them "where the sun don't shine."
By separating these elephants after 40 years of being together, you are significantly increasing their probability of death......It's akin to survival rate after one spouse dies.... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2028123
I have visited PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) on a regular basis for the last 3 years. I have a website showing happy elephants and abused elephants in the circus. There is NO excuse for Connie and Shaba to be separated. They are like mother and daughter and they will both mourn. Connie is too old to move. I lived in Tucson for 5 years and was happy to hear that they will have more room. Reid Park Zoo is listed as one of the 10 worst zoos in the U.S. by In Defense of Animals. They have deceived the tax payers and these two should be kept together. Many doctors and Ph.d's that specialized in elephant behavior know that they will both probably die within a year after being separated. I had met with Susan Basford 3 years ago talking about their pathetic 1/3 acre with the dirt ground, the concrete pool and no mental enrichment. I am sad they won't be able to enjoy the new 7 acre expansion and this new herd will be coming in forcing Shaba to be a part of them or be sad. Shame on Reid park Zoo and the AZA officials. Keep them together or send them to PAWS.
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