Outside my house recently the thermometer read minus 12 degrees. What will it take for the Alaska Zoo to graciously change its position and acknowledge that the current plan to keep Maggie the elephant in Alaska fails to honor even minimally adequate standards for an elephant? It is unreasonable and insulting to expect sensible Alaskans to accept that a giant treadmill (purely a human concept) or a slightly enlarged, snowbound enclosure (for more than half the year) are going to meet Maggie's considerable and scientifically established needs for warmth, acreage (not square feet) over which to roam and, most importantly, the companionship of other elephants.
If loneliness and isolation don't kill Maggie before her time, in all likelihood, based on what is going on at other zoos around the world, ill health will. Yet another grim reminder of the need to move Maggie to a sanctuary as soon as possible was in the Daily News on Jan. 26, Page A-5: "Elephant euthanized because of arthritis." The death of that elephant, Toni, at our National Zoo in Washington, D.C., serves as a powerful symbol in the current debate, not just in America, but all over the world, as to whether elephants belong in zoos given what we now know about their needs. Please, Alaska Zoo, do the right thing. Let Maggie go.