Wolf Song of Alaska News

Maggie, the Elephant

Letters / Anchorage Press / May 19, 2006

Have Mercy

I am writing to ask that the Alaska Zoo have mercy on Maggie the elephant. Maggie is a female elephant who has been confined for years alone in this zoo in Anchorage. In the wild, female elephants never live alone. Certainly you can see that this situation is not in Maggie's best interest. Remember the Golden Rule? How would you like to be treated like this? Please, everyone, encourage the zoo to make arrangements to move Maggie to a sanctuary where she can live in a warm climate with other female elephants.

Constance Sweitzer
Mifflintown, Pennsylvania

Maggie the Snowbird

Spring has arrived and yesterday I enjoyed sitting on my balcony, soaking up the warmth of the sun. It was good to feel the fresh air and sunshine after the months of rain we have during the winter.

Our winters in Vancouver are obviously extremely mild compared to Alaska, and even though I'm out and about throughout the winter, and usually a jacket and a hat are enough to keep warm, I'm craving the sunshine and warmth by the time May rolls around.

Considering Maggie is an African elephant, the winter confinement she must survive must seem almost unendurable.

Next month, June 21, is the middle of the year. At this mid-point, Maggie will have a mere four months to enjoy being outside and then she faces six-plus months cooped up again indoors.

Please allow Maggie the opportunity to enjoy a year-round outdoor warm climate and the company of other elephants.

Julie Cook
Vancouver, British Columbia

Dear Maggie, the Elephant...

I am sorry for the way mankind has treated you. I saw you one day when I was on a two-week trip to Alaska with my grandparents. You seemed lonely and neglected. I cannot put into words how badly my cousin and I felt for you when we walked into your area.

The walls of concrete barely gave you room to move. The hay on the ground hardly even covered a quarter of the floor, leaving spots of cold, hard concrete all over. There wasn't a window near you that you could look out of. The room was dark and quite plain compared to the areas where the moose and the many types of bears lived.

I was 11 at the time and I was with my 9-year-old cousin. We wondered how anyone could go to the zoo and be happy while, in the back of their minds, all they could see was the elephant in the room being robbed of her prime years in life. Where are the protesters that we would find in Atlanta or Philadelphia if this were happening at their zoo? That is what I don't understand. If this were a big zoo there would be protesters everywhere. I guess no one cares about one little elephant in a tiny zoo far from America's big population centers. But I do - and if everyone in Alaska cared as much as my grandparents, my cousin, and I did, you, Maggie, would be with your fellow elephants in a large zoo habitat warm enough that you would not have to spend over six months in a room that would be cruel even for a zebra to live in.

I am 12 years old and even I understand that there is no reason for you to be in that tiny room, even if they gave you a stupid treadmill. It is just not the same as roaming in the plains of Africa, is it?

Jessica Washington
Athens, Georgia

Boycott the Zoo

It is bad enough we didn't want to come to Alaska because of the way you treat your wolves. Now you have to mistreat your elephant as well. My husband has wanted to come there for years but since I control the purse strings, you can count out any of our money being spent in Alaska.

Why aren't you people more outraged at this? My god. Why don't you all boycott this zoo?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right."

Kathy McGuire
Winslow Township, New Jersey

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