Friday, December 10


Despite threats from the American Zoo Association, Winky and Wanda, the aging, arthritic elephants, "will spend their retirement in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada mountains, away from the cramped, cold Detroit Zoo." Detroit Zoo director Ron Kagan finally reached an agreement with the AZA to send Winky and Wanda to California's Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary. But get this - "A break in the impasse came when a test indicated that Wanda either had the endotheliotropic herpes virus or had the antibodies to it. The disease would not be detrimental to her health but could be fatal to young elephants exposed to it." In other words, the AZA only caved because Wanda, the commmodity, was worthless to them. Or that may be their face-saving excuse - either way, it's an unfortunate mentality.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, new rules could wind up eliminating elephant attractions at that city's zoo. "Elephants must receive hundreds of times more space to live at San Francisco's zoo or not be kept at the facility, city legislators said on Tuesday in legislation that could effectively bar pachyderms for good." Why? Because to get that much space, according to Zoo director Manuel Mollinedo,the zoo would need to raise $17 to $20 million for the new elephant area. And (though this is unspoken) during a period, and in a cultural environment, when the question "why do we need elephants in cages?" is becoming louder and stronger. Then again, there are plenty of reactionary bozos with too much money, so this will be interesting to watch develop.

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