Wolf Song of Alaska News


Animal Welfare Group Offers to Pay Maggie's Way to California

Steve MacDonald / KTUU-TV / July 20, 2007


ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Maggie the elephant is being offered an all-expenses-paid trip to California from an animal welfare group that says it'll ship her from the Alaska Zoo to its elephant sanctuary. The offer comes from the California based Progressive Animal Welfare Society, also known as PAWS.

PAWS recently sent a letter to the zoo offering to bring Maggie to its elephant sanctuary in Galt, Calif. PAWS says it will also pay the tab for shipping Maggie, the airfare, along with a crate that will cost around $150,000.

PAWS already cares for 11 elephants at its two California sanctuaries.

PAWS co-founder, Pat Derby, says four of the elephants are African, just like Maggie. She also says two of the elephants at the sanctuary came from the Detroit Zoo. They were shipped to California because zoo officials felt they couldn't properly care for them during Detroit winters.

The Alaska Zoo has been under increasing pressure to ship Maggie outside to a warmer climate ever since Maggie fell ill several months ago.

The zoo says it's received several other offers and is considering them along with the proposal from PAWS.

Derby says she doesn't want to add to the pressure, she just wants to help Maggie.

"If they decide to send her elsewhere and we can help it out, we'd be happy to do that as well," said Derby.

"There's been a couple of new places that we can't mention yet that are interested and are very high quality places. So we have to get all the information from them and weigh out the pros and cons of each one," said Pat Lampi, Alaska Zoo director.

According to Lampi, it could be a couple more weeks before information on the offers is given to the zoo board of directors. The board could make a decision on Maggie's future during its next meeting in August.

As for where the $150,000 will come from, Derby says the group has many generous donors who will gladly chip in to transport Maggie to California. One of those donors is Bob Barker, who recently retired at the host of The Price is Right.

Contact Steve MacDonald at stevem@ktuu.com

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