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Author Topic:   Help Save Our Elephants
Gemini Nymph

Posts: 1484
Registered: Jul 2004

posted September 01, 2006 01:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gemini Nymph     Edit/Delete Message
I live in El Paso, TX, which at times is a shameful thing to admit. This is one of the reasons: our zoo here has a horrendous history concerning the treatment of its animals, in particular its elephants. A few years ago, before I moved here, there was a nation-wide scandal involving the severe beating of one elephant, Sissy, that was caught on videotape. She was beaten for over an hour while in chains by two zoo employees with axe handles. After the scandal broke, Sissy was removed and sent to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Unfortunately, there is another elephant, Savannah, who is still at the zoo after Sissy left. In 2002, Savannah was joined by Juno, despite outcry and intervention aimed at preventing the zoo from acquiring another elephant. There has been repeated calls by various organizations to remove these two elephants since Juno's arrival. El Paso Zoo has been rated as among the worst in the countrry in terms of its care for its elephant. These animals have less than one acre in their habitat and both elephants have a long list of ongoing or reoccuring ailments, most of which indicate improper care, inadequate environment and possible ongoing abuse.

The El Paso Zoo has claimed it has taken exceptional care of these animals, and that the beating of Sissy was an "isolated incident." They have viligantly fought allegations of ongoing abuse and improper care as well as demands for the elephants' transfer to a sanctuary. They openly resent being known as "the zoo that beats its elephants." They've put much money and effort into keeping these elelphants here, claiming they are a huge finicial draw to the zoo. They've even had PR tables with flyers, pamphlets and smiling volunteers at malls and events to gather support for the zoo's cause. However, there's little indication they've put equal amount of money or effort into improving these animals' lives and living conditions.

Likewise the City Council here promised over a year ago to see that improvements where made for the elephants.Yet nothing has been done. At the most, they got the zoo to promise to expand the elephant habitat from 0.7 of an arce to a whopping 1.1 arces. But despite waving around the estimated $2 million price tag for that expansion to impress the public, there's no hint of that being realized. Whether the zoo and the city lack the resources or the genuine desire to make good on all this talk, it has been very clear that both were hoping that the public would just forget about this problem until another day.

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Gemini Nymph

Posts: 1484
Registered: Jul 2004

posted September 01, 2006 01:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gemini Nymph     Edit/Delete Message
Now that day is here. This week, allegations of more abuse broke. Not just that, but it involved one of the two employees caught on tape beating Sissy years back. While the exact details are not clear, it seems that Juno recieved a beating with a bullhook which resulted in gashes on her trunk. The employee, Allan Seidon (he deserves to be publically shamed), has been given adminstrative leave while the zoo and city have been on a frenzy of damage control. However, there are many people here in El Paso, as well as across the world, who are simply fed up and think it's well past the time for wrist-slapping and empty promises.

There are places for these animals, where they would recieve the kindness and care they deserve and live in an enivornment that is beneficial rather than detrimental. The Elephant Sanctuary, which would take these animals gladly, is just one. That the El Paso Zoo and the City of El Paso insist on keeping these animals in horrendous conditions where they suffer preventable ailments and are vulnerable to mistreatment for the sake of revenue and public image is utterly despicable. Not only do the animals suffer, but it's an egregious black eye on a community that has enough problems with its economy, civic pride and state- and nation-wide reputation already.

So I'm doing what little I can to help these animals and the city of El Paso. I'm asking for others to speak out. Don't think that if you don't live in El Paso, Texas, or even the US, your voice won't help. El Paso is very sensitive to how it's percieved outside the city, and the more people from outside of the city who speak out, the more likely the city and the zoo will come to see that they can't keep sweeping this under the rug.

There's two ways you can help right now:

Go here to fill out a form that will be sent to our city council members and our mayor.

Or simply sign this petition. This is an petition that aimed to get the council to OK the removal of the elephants last July, but that failed due to pressure by the AZA to keep the elephants here. The petition has been kept up to allow more people to speak out, and now would be a very good time to do just that.

You can also help by supporting the Elephant Sanctuary. Go here to see an older El Paso Times article posted at the ES website on Sissy at the Sanctuary and about Savannah's and Juno's many ailments.

Other things:

An El Paso Times editorial written a month ago, before these most recent allegations.

IDA's article on the City Council's inaction, from a few months ago

A current article from our local Fox station abut the most recent allegations of abuse

Thank you to anyone who steps up and speaks up. Please post this on other forums so it can reach more people!

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Posts: 869
Registered: Jul 2005

posted September 02, 2006 12:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lialei     Edit/Delete Message

have signed the petition.

please keep us updated on any new developments, Gemini Nymph.

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Posts: 599
From: salt lake city, utah, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

posted September 02, 2006 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Thorshammer     Edit/Delete Message
i am going to repost this on my MySpace account this is horrible. Why didnt they put his butt on administrative leave along time ago.

and for anyone that wants to know, here is the jack *$$es address. write him a personal letter.

3526 breckenridge dr
el paso tx 79936

SOrry don't get a sagi mad

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Posts: 1041
From: Northeast Ohio
Registered: Sep 2002

posted September 07, 2006 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for teaselbaby     Edit/Delete Message
I signed the petition the other day.

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