Wolf Song of Alaska News

No Decision Yet on Moving Maggie

Alaska Digest / Anchorage Daily News / June 6, 2007

ANCHORAGE -- The Alaska Zoo board met Tuesday night to discuss the fate of the zoo's lone elephant but its leader said afterward that members were still seeking information on moving Maggie.

Board president Dick Thwaites said a prepared statement would be released today.

The zoo did not hear back from all of the Outside experts consulted, Thwaites said. The zoo was also waiting to hear from Outside zoos to gauge what Maggie's options are should the board make the decision to move her out of Alaska. He could not recall who the experts were or what institutions specifically were being consulted, he said. More information would be available today, he said.

The board has come under increasing pressure from the public and animal groups that want to see the elephant moved to a warmer locale to be with other elephants. The pressure intensified after last month when the elephant became ill and could not lift herself from the floor of her concrete enclosure. The city's fire department stepped in to assist.

Thwaites said the board received some 4,000 e-mails or letters from the public after the incident. He said one in 10 was from an Alaska resident, the others were from Outside. He said the board weighed the ones from Alaska more than the others. "We want (to hear) from people who know Maggie and look at Maggie, not the people that look at the golden book of elephants," he said.

While a scheduled press conference after the board meeting was canceled, Maggie swept her trunk around the concrete floor picking up hay, locked inside her enclosure on the blue sky day.

Carolina Rodriguez was watching her and holding a small child. She said the elephant looked very different from when she saw her in September. "Her face is completely different. She didn't have all those marks," she said. "She's so skinny."

The elephant suffered abrasions from the two incidents when she went down and could not get up, zoo officials have said. Rodriguez said she didn't know how she felt about whether Maggie should be moved or not. She said she wanted to see the elephant get back to the way she looked before, though. "I feel really bad for her."

-- Anchorage Daily News


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