How about expanding the exhibit if need be, and letting them be with their keepers, in their place? Follow the Bronx Zoo's lead, and let them be!
Basford argues that "elephants can walk 30 to 50 miles a day; they don't choose to if they have what they need in front of them." Or if they are enclosed in a tiny habitat where they can't take that walk.
A shortened life span seems a mercy for animals living on an area "60,000 times smaller than the smallest known elephant range." I believe we ought to consider the quality of life for these elephants and send them to the sanctuary.
I felt some points in this article were very important and should be recapped and focused on. Foremost: "In January, officials at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., were forced to euthanize its 40-year-old elephant, Toni, just five days after they had said Toni had no significant health problems." Much like we have seen the Reid Park Zoo doing, the National Zoo was swearing up and down that Toni was fine. Before her premature and preventable death, it was reported that Toni was in so much pain regarding putting pressure on her legs that she was using her trunk for support. We know factually, from public records, that Connie has severe foot problems. Like Fico said in the article, her problem will never go away and will begin to get worse as she ages. I don't want to see our beloved Connie end up like Toni.
The need for walking, whether it is necessary to find food or not, is extremely crucial to an elephant's health. At least eight zoos have sent elephants to sanctuaries in the last decade. How can the Reid Park Zoo and some City Council members be ignoring this trend?
I am sick of hearing the praises of the American Aquarium and Zoo Association, which is a pro-zoo/circus group, obviously biased on the issue, as their survival depends on the revenue of zoos and aquariums. Zoos do not aid in developing a conversation ethic; millions more are spent on keeping elephants in miniscule habitats than the actual conservation effort. Conservation is carried out by habitat protection and anti-poaching measures. If these two things are not focused on and given the immense funding they lack, elephants will not survive, regardless of how many we put on display for the public's enjoyment.
I cannot believe that this is even being pondered when the zoo has only been able to raise $12,000 in roughly a year's time. Seriously, they plan on getting to $8.5 million? That is insane. This is not going to happen without it coming out of taxpayers' pockets and possibly hurting the other animals at the Reid Park Zoo that do much better in captivity and need their enclosures improved grossly.
More than 4,000 Tucson residents and Reid Park Zoo members have joined me in urging the City Council to put the proposal to send the elephants to the sanctuary on the agenda. When the Tucson community is given a choice and educated about the vast needs of elephants, the majority overwhelmingly support transferring Connie and Shaba to The Elephant Sanctuary. Council members are now aware of this support, and we all hope they act accordingly.
Last June, council members stated they received "strong public support" to keep the elephants in Tucson. I recently learned that "strong public support" consisted of roughly 100 form letters. They should now consider the will of 4,000-plus residents.
As reported in the article, Connie and Shaba currently suffer from captivity-induced problems such as foot disease and psychological disorders that will lead to their premature death. However, neither elephant is yet at the point where they cannot be rehabilitated. By going to the sanctuary, where they can have the freedom to roam over hundreds of acres and have access to care from world- renowned experts, Connie and Shaba will heal, giving them decades to live. If they remain in Tucson, even in the zoo's expanded enclosure, their diseases will continue to progress and will kill them at roughly half their natural 70-year lifespan.
If the zoo won't do what's best for Connie and Shaba by voluntarily sending them to The Elephant Sanctuary, then the City Council must step in and do what's right.
Nikia Fico, Save Tucson Elephants
In fact, the Feb. 16 column ends with: "To join the effort, go to exxposeexxon.com." What exactly does Mr. Hancock want? Does he want Hightower to hold his hand? The solution is obvious: Get off your couch and take action. Participate in our democracy. Petition. Protest. And most importantly, inform those around you about what's happening to our country before it's too late. Unlike you and me, most people are unaware of the problems Hightower highlights. Do you need Jim Hightower to tell you that?