The Dallas Zoo is seen these days as "mean" and a "killer" institution. The elephant, Jenny, shown in pictures Gera took in November 2008 show her as sad and unhealthy in appearance. For a long time, activists have been fighting with the Dallas Zoo to release Jenny, especially after her mate, Keke, died. I was not aware of the problem until one librarian informed me---in whispers. Apparently city employees are not supposed to get in the middle of big, highly publicized issues like this one. I know if this elephant was in California, swift steps would have been taken to ensure her health and ultimate care. As of this month, it sounds like they old girl will remain at the zoo caged with the hopes that a new partner will revive her and jump start her spirit. The zoo is seen as a commodity, small money making tourist attraction, but others see it as abusive, especially where this elephant is concerned. I am amazed and so proud of all the people who are fighting to have her put in a better habitat. I'm happy to see Texans care. Of course I know they do on many levels, but this issue has stirred some high official pots.
I was told that because Jenny is in such a tiny space, she has calluses and abscesses on her feet. She's slowly fading because she is lonely and apparently is unable to interact with....well nothing but zookeepers and people watchers. I asked Gera how did she look to him and he said "miserable"--not triumphant like elephants usually carry on. I read a little about her situation and thought statements like "The zoo thought better and decided the 10,000-pound pachyderm would remain at her home of 22 years and would also get a new companion, which might help end her depression" quoted in the press are so ridiculous and undermining.
But wait, there's more:
“We believe we have found a solution that benefits Jenny as well as the Dallas community,” the zoo’s executive director, Gregg Hudson, said Wednesday in a statement. “This plan serves Jenny’s best interests.”
Seems to me her best interest would be to move in unlimited space, her natural habitat! Anything less is animal cruelty.
Mr. Hudson first decided to send the elephant, who suffered from depression panic attacks, to the African Safari Park in Puebla, Mexico, after her companion, Keke, died of heart disease in the month of May.
As African elephants are very sensitive when it comes to their companions’ death, it was feared that Jenny’s health was endangered.
But Mr.Hudson’s good intentions were not well received by many, including local residents, animal-rights advocates, lawmakers and elephant experts. The critics said that the noisy zoo in Puebla might actually worsen Jenny’s state and trigger her rages. They requested that the elephant is sent to a 2,700-acre sanctuary for traumatized circus and zoo elephants in Tennessee. But this plan was not welcomed by Dallas Zoo officials and a national umbrella organization that accredits zoos in North America. The zoo officials argued that the Tennessee elephant sanctuary was not accredited by the zoo association, which meant that Jenny might not be provided with proper care.
I ask, is she provided with proper care now?
But now Mr. Hudson came with a better plan, promising to speed up the construction of a new 15-acre habitat for large African mammals and also to find a new companion for Jenny.
I wonder how Mr. Hudson would feel...all caged up, in a small 5x5 foot space? What if he couldn't stand up completely and had to bend over slightly, and couldn't lie down...inchy little openings between each bar and every once in a while someone would come along and pat the top of his head and toss jelly drops at him? Well...maybe he's not the blame. I really don't know who is, but I do know that a few of my coworkers are in an uproar over Jenny's condition and they seem to have that vicious, California activist glow in their eyes.
I don't know what will come of the old girl, but I did want to dedicate a post to her for my coworker C. I also signed a petition for her and told her I would do all I could to help. This post is a start.
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old