By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Ooo, Jenny, Jenny
It's impossible to understand why Dallas Zoo officials are choosing to send Jenny to a foreign zoo that affords her no protection under our federal animal protection laws instead of to an elephant sanctuary in the United States.
Jenny's life has already been one of heartbreak and deprivation. Forcibly removed from her rightful African home as a baby, she's spent her entire life in captivity, resulting in behavioral issues for which the zoo heavily tranquilized her for three years.
At a sanctuary, Jenny would experience the joy of new opportunities to explore many acres of valleys and forests, excavate mud wallows, discover swimming holes, knock down trees and meet new friends. Her new world would be measured in hundreds of acres, not a small portion of a zoo enclosure.
We urge the Dallas Zoo to do what's best for Jenny, which means sending her to the sanctuary. She deserves no less.
Thank you for your coverage about Jenny's plight.
I wanted to point out The Elephant Sanctuary is not a zoo, and AZA accreditation does not apply. The Elephant Sanctuary is accredited by The Association of Sanctuaries (TAOS).
I question the logic of placing Jenny, whose medical records state is fearful of noises, in a drive-thru zoo.
Elephants are the world's largest land mammals, are active 20 hours out of 24 and cover 30 to 50 miles a day. I question the logic of placing two or three 10,000-pound elephants on approximately two acres of space (the total five acres for Africam's elephants are subdivided for the male Asian and female Asian elephants and will be further subdivided for Africans), even with all the vets and keepers at Africam.
Zoo officials are now saying Jenny is on loan. Jenny is not an object to be shipped 950 miles and back. She is a highly intelligent creature whose complex needs are foremost for those who oppose the zoo's decision.
The Elephant Sanctuary is a premier facility that is well-equipped to tend to Jenny's total care. The sanctuary spent $1.8 million out of their 2006 budget of $2.1 million on elephant care. The African elephant barn is a marvel. The floor is padded and heated. It was constructed so natural daylight and moonlight "flows into the elephant house, creating a warm and comforting effect" (from The Elephant Sanctuary's site at elephants.com). Let us allow Jenny to retire peacefully, respectfully and with dignity for her 22 years of service to us.
Dorothy Phillips, Dallas
This has become ridiculous. We are sending a Dallas African elephant to Mexico and putting her with Asian elephants? It is well-known these two different kinds of elephants do not get along. Since they can't put Jenny with the Asian elephants, she will be alone AGAIN. And of all places to put an elephant mourning the loss of her pal, KeKe, [the zoo chooses] a smaller land mass in Mexico? There is a bigger, better and more accessible sanctuary here in Tennessee. Why can't Jenny just live out her life in peace and not be put on display?
I think the zoo director has just gotten stubborn about Jenny and WILL NOT change his mind unless the mayor of Dallas takes the matter to the city council and listens to the public. Do you want to see the city of Dallas become the laughingstock of the country? I doubt it. Do you all have such a mind-set that you will not listen to the citizens of Dallas, even people who live out of Dallas, in the suburbs and other cities nearby?
It is time that the mayor, the city council, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the zoo director consider the wants and needs of Jenny, and not their own egos or wants. Jenny has to come first.