Wolf Song of Alaska News

Alaska Zoo Board Likely to Approve Moving Maggie the Elephant

Megan Holland / Anchorage Daily News / May 23, 2007

The Alaska Zoo's board of directors, under intense pressure from critics of Maggie the elephant's confinement there, will likely vote Tuesday to move the pachyderm out of Alaska, the board's chairman said today.

Dick Thwaites, who has been on the board 20 years and is currently chairman, said criticism has reached new volumes in recent days and has included personal threats against board members. "I'm not sure the board is inclined to keep her," he said. "The board is bowing to the pressure regardless of what the experts say."

The Alaska Zoo board members have maintained that they have taken the advice of elephant experts in keeping Maggie at the zoo, despite the mounting protests from some members of the public.

Calls for the zoo to dispatch Maggie, one of the zoo's most popular draws, to a warmer climate or to a location with other elephants have persisted for years. But they climbed dramatically after the 8,000-pound animal twice this month went down on her side and couldn't get up. Anchorage firefighters and a wrecker company had to assist her in getting up.

Daily News reporter Megan Holland can be reached at mrholland@adn.com or 257-4343.

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