Tuesday, January 6, 2009
i didn't know Texans cared
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.
Feel free to read more: