Patrick Lampi, Assistant Director
The Alaska Zoo
4731 O’Malley Rd.
Anchorage, AK 99507
In 1984, Zimbabwe president Mugabe ordered a massive cull of elephants. Baby Maggie was orphaned and sent to Alaska, completely opposite in climate, to the Anchorage Zoo.
It was reported for years, that Maggie seemed angry. She lashed out at visitors with her trunk. Years later, her companion Annabelle died of neglected foot rot.
After several years of battling negotiations, the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage recently announced its decision to keep Maggie, the lonely 24-year-old elephant, rather than acting in her best interests by retiring her to a sanctuary. Instead, the zoo has promised to develop a treadmill for Maggie, of which there is no current design or proven success. The zoos decision effectively neglects one of Maggies most inherent needsthe companionship of other elephants.
Maggie is believed to be the only female African elephant living in solitary confinement in a North American zooa shocking fact that requires immediate change. Female elephants are highly social, and in the wild, they live with their families for their entire lives. Although the Alaska Zoo is not Accredited by the AZA, the AZA has expressed concern for Maggie's well-being.The AZA's Standards for Elephant Management and Care states, It is inappropriate to keep highly social female elephants singly.
In addition, the unsuitable arctic climate requires her to be confined indoors to a barren concrete room for the majority of the year with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Maggie desperately needs to be transferred to either The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES)or the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in California, where she would have her choice of companions and ample room to roam in a suitable climate.
One thing will never change for Maggie if she remains at the Alaska Zooher solitary status.
Long time zoo director Tex Edwards has just resigned. Detroit Zoo Director Ron Kagan recently released his aging elephants to Sanctuary on ethical Terms. Let us raise our voices to the new Zoo Director to follow in Kagan's lead and RETIRE MAGGIE TO SANCTUARY!
An eye witness saw Maggie in the Summer 2004. She was holding up her feet intermittenly. She appeared to be in pain - a typical characteristic of captive elephants who are not given enough room to get the exercise they need.
The treadmill is being pushed by Dr.Ooosterhauis of San Deigo Zoo, the vet who is in cohouts with Hawthorn and deemed Delhi and Lota to be in good health. (for Delhi and Lota's health reports, visit www.elephants.com)