Last month, I reported on Dallas Zoo's decision to send their last remaining elephant, Jenny, to a wildlife park in Mexico. It was announced this week that the Dallas city council has stepped in, reacting to the pressures of animal activists, and has requested the Zoo to find an alternate home for Jenny. No plans have been reported, but it is safe to assume that the Zoo will consider the Tennessee Sanctuary suggested by the activists. The Elephant Sanctuary boasts 2700+ acres at its disposal, providing 300+ acres for African elephants, and 2400+ acres for Asians. Additionally, the Sanctuary has one 9000 sf African elephant barn, one 17,000 sf Asian elephant barn, plus separate quarantine facilities.
Dallas Zoo has become another in a long line of zoos ditching their elephant exhibits under the increasing pressure of animal activists. Their single female elephant, Jenny, will be going to the Africam Safari Park in Mexico. This decision has come after the second elephant living at the zoo, KeKe, passed away in May, leaving Jenny all alone. The AZA's standards suggest at least three females should be housed together.
The Zoo has announced plans for the defunct exhibit. They plan to expand their giraffe yard, and add more individuals, opening Spring 2009. Additional comments from the zoo elude to plans of bringing elephants back in the future, when the zoo can afford to build a more responsible home for them.
Activists oppose the move to the Safari Park, preferring a Tennessee sanctuary to an international park where U.S. standards of care do not have to be followed. The Zoo has inspected the facility, however, and feels the Safari Park is an excellent choice.
Thailand is touting a tiger temple where visitors can, once daily, walk amongst, pet, and be photographed with endangered animals, including tigers. The temple claims the tigers are tame, and are all the offspring from an orphaned group rescued years ago.
I won't deny the power of walking amongst these amazingly beautiful and powerful creatures, but where do we draw the line? Is petting a potentially dangerous animal truly beneficial to anyone beside the accountant at the temple?
And what of tameness via feeding the cats only cooked meat? Can this truly tame a big cat? I believe these cats can never truly be tamed, and I'm hesitant for anyone to work barrier free with the animals, not to mention letting uneducated visitors interact with them at will.
Plus, check out the photos. The cats look drugged, and definitely are chained up. Its a shame. And they call themselves a sanctuary.