Maggie, Alaska's lone elephant, is in the news today as Bob Barker has offered to pay for her transfer to sanctuary. For those not familiar with Maggie's plight, the Elephant Sanctuary still has on its website a heartbreaking cover story about her, by Robert Meyerowitz, printed in the February 12 2005 Anchorage Press. You can read it at http://www.elephants.com/pr/2_17_05_AnchoragePress.htm. It tells us, "In 1983, a Zimbabwe cull left five baby elephants watching on grassy plains as all the adults in their herds, all the elephants they'd ever known, were cut down around their ears." We learn that the baby elephants were flown to the US, and Maggie was brought to Alaska to accompany the lone elephant there named Annabelle. When Annabelle died, Maggie was left alone. Because of the climate, Maggie spends much of her life inside a heated barn. When activists complained that she desperately needed exercise and should be released to a sanctuary where she would have acres on whic
h to roam with other elephants, the zoo's solution was to design an elephant-sized treadmill for her.
The movement to free Maggie received renewed media attention in May this year, when twice in on one week Maggie lay down and was unable to stand up until local firefighters intervened to lift her. Finally, the Alaska Zoo Board agreed to let Maggie go to a better facility with a warmer climate. But they have still not announced whether that will be a sanctuary or just a somewhat better zoo, and we learned recently that the move had been put off till after the winter. The Friends of Maggie (http://www.friendsofmaggie.net/ ) don't think she will survive another winter in Alaska.
The Tuesday, August 28 Anchorage Daily News story (which I believe is on the front page) by Kyle Hopkins is headed, "Bob Barker says price is right to move Maggie off to California."
"Here's the deal: If the Alaska Zoo sends Maggie the elephant to a sanctuary in Northern California, retired game show host Bob Barker says he'll kick in $750,000 to help take care of her.
"The zoo would also get $100,000 from an anonymous donor.
"But wait, there's more. The nonprofit that runs the sanctuary also promises to pay all of Maggie's travel and training costs.
"The sanctuary belongs to the Performing Animal Welfare Society, or PAWS, and is already home to several African elephants. Barker and PAWS co-founder Ed Stewart want Maggie to move there too, and made their pitch to zoo officials and reporters Monday in Anchorage.
"'Moving Maggie to PAWS will not cost the zoo, or the taxpayers of this city, one cent. Not a penny. So the price is right,' Barker said."
Barker described what life would be life for Maggie at the sanctuary:
"She will have acres and acres of land to roam over. In the wild, elephants walk as much as 50 miles a day. Maggie is going to walk to her heart's content. Over grass, with trees around her, beautiful surroundings. There's a pond for her to swim in. There's a mud hole. Elephants love to play in the mud. She can frolic in the mud to her heart's content."
You'll find the whole article on line at http://www.adn.com/front/story/9257816p-9172775c.html and can submit letters to the editor at http://www.adn.com/help/v-letters/. Clearly interested in what the rest of the world thinks, Alaska's papers have previously published letters about Maggie from far and wide, so feel free to write from anywhere.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)
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Date: Tue Aug 28 22:24:08 2007
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An animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets.
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