Wolf Song of Alaska News

Outsiders Think They Know Better, Huh?

Letters / Anchorage Press / June 14, 2007

I enjoyed your letters section dedicated solely to folks from outside Alaska that want to move Maggie the elephant. Of the seven letters, two were from New Jersey, one from Chicago, one from Michigan, and one from Canada. I'll bet the average monthly low temperature in all those places is lower than it is in Anchorage. What have they done to relocate zoo elephants wintering in Newark, Chicago, Detroit, and Winnipeg?

One lady wrote her dictates for us from Texas. What does she have to say about the polar bears at the Houston zoo? I had an Alaska Zoo protester tell me last week that polar bears handle hot, humid weather very well. Really? When I asked why they weren't indigenous to Cuba, Venezuela, and Costa Rica, she didn't want to talk about it anymore.  These folks need to liberate their own local zoos before they opine upon us.

Everyone wants what's best for Maggie, but the letter writers you featured are not the sole authority on the subject. Maggie had a brief bout with colic due to a change in hay that may have contributed to her condition. A six-year-old elephant died at the Seattle zoo last week after exhibiting similar reactions as Maggie. To say it is weather, a cement floor, or a lack of other elephants is taking crackpot guesses based on people projecting human emotions onto an animal. Your Outside contributors write as if they are Maggie and know exactly what is going on in her head. To Alaskans Laura Cotter of N.J. says, "Šgive her (Maggie) the needed time and the will to live long enough to see green pasturesŠ a well planned trailer rideŠ the wonder of where she may be going, the immediate sights, sounds, and smells at the end of her journey just might be enough to save her." The experts say such a trip might kill her, and not be as magical and mystical as Laura contends.

My daughter and I have been to see Maggie most every weekend since mid-December. We've been in her house when it was 10 degrees outside many times this last winter. We've watched her doing amazing things with her trainers. We've watched her extend her trunk to us, play with items, dust herself with droppings, and for the most part enjoy herself. We've seen her mope too. If she were energized all the time and never down, I'd worry more.

The zoo has decided to move Maggie if it can be done safely. I hope not to read reports that once there she is solitary in a crowd, and unhappy in unfamiliar surroundings. We will see.

Jay Page / Anchorage

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