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PETA Offers Alaska Zoo Director Free Trip to The Elephant Sanctuary

May 23, 2007

Norfolk, VA - An animal-rights organization has offered to fly the director of the Alaska zoo to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee so he could see for himself where their zoo's sick elephant could go if she left Alaska.

An animal-rights organization has offered to fly the director of the Alaska zoo to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee so he could see for himself where their zoo's sick elephant could go if she left Alaska.

From a PETA press release: In light of the Anchorage Assembly's resolution calling for the zoo to move Maggie to a more elephant-friendly environment, PETA would like to offer to send you to visit The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, so you can see firsthand the exceptional care that a sanctuary would offer Maggie.

Maggie's situation has become life-threatening. Over the course of one week, Maggie had to be hoisted to her feet twice and spent time suspended in a sling. Now she is apparently wearing a harness because she might go down again. The zoo is in the unenviable position of waiting to see if Maggie is simply going to die.

The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald is a world-class facility that would provide Maggie with the opportunity to roam through hundreds of acres of natural habitat, play in a lake, forage on fresh vegetation, and enjoy a healthy and enriching life in the company of other elephants. Not only would Maggie's social needs be addressed, the sanctuary environment has proved to be therapeutic to ailing elephants. Other zoos that have sent their elephants to sanctuaries include the El Paso Zoo, the Milwaukee Zoo, the Mesker Park Zoo, the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, the Henry Vilas Zoo, Chehaw Wild Animal Park , the Detroit Zoo, and, most recently, the Philadelphia Zoo.

We realize that this is a difficult decision, but please know that by sending Maggie to a sanctuary, the Alaska Zoo will become part of a progressive trend within the zoo community. Since 1991, 14 U.S. zoos have closed their elephant exhibits or announced that they will phase out their elephant exhibits after concluding that they could not adequately provide for the complex needs of elephants.

As evidenced by the slew of letters in the May 19 issue of the Anchorage Daily News, Alaskans care deeply about Maggie and would support the compassionate decision to allow her to spend her remaining years in a suitable climate where she will enjoy ample space and the company of other elephants. May we please hear from you about this matter?

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