News Update, March 12, 2012
Tucson Elephants Moved Together To San Diego Zoo
"Your tens of thousands of emails protesting the planned separation of lifelong companions Connie and Shaba finally convinced the city of Tucson, Arizona, to keep the elephants together. Last week the pair was moved to the San Diego Zoo, though IDA is concerned the zoo might separate them later. Connie and Shaba have a 30-year history of caring for one another, and that relationship should not be destroyed to suit the interests of zoos. IDA will continue to closely monitor their situation to ensure the San Diego Zoo does the right thing and keeps Connie and Shaba together forever."
Thank you to all of you who have written and spoke out in support of the 2 elephants. I hope the San Diego Zoo will care for them in a compassionate manner and keep them together for life.
Til next Time,
News from In Defense of Animals:
Update On Elephants Connie And Shaba At Reid Park Zoo
After Tucson, Arizona city officials and the Reid Park Zoo were deluged with tens of thousands of emails protesting the planned separation of long-time companions Connie and Shaba, and legendary animal activist Bob Barker offered to donate $500,000 toward the construction of a facility at the PAWS Sanctuary where their bond would be preserved for life (the amount would cover half the cost), the city announced that the two elephants would stay together after all. However, the pair will be sent to the San Diego Zoo where, unfortunately, their future together is far from guaranteed.
IDA obtained a Tucson city memo stating that the San Diego Zoo believes each elephant – Connie is an Asian and Shaba an African – will gravitate toward members of their own species at the zoo, which currently holds Asian elephants and one African named Tembo. The memo further states:
“Experts will continue to evaluate individual animal behavior and relationships, as well as the needs of the entire Species Survival Plan, as future placement decisions are made for Shaba and Tembo together.”
This strongly suggests that the zoo is already thinking about moving the two African elephants to another facility. Reid Park Zoo chief Susan Basford had previously informed the media that the San Diego Zoo intended to move Tembo to another zoo.
Connie and Shaba have been together since 1982 when Connie was 15 and Shaba was just 2, and they have been deeply bonded ever since. Please take action today to help save their lifelong bond.
Send a personal message to Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him that you appreciate his efforts to keep Connie and Shaba together, and express your concern that they could still be separated after being sent to the San Diego Zoo. Urge him to do everything in his power to guarantee that they remain together for the rest of their lives. Please follow up your message with a phone call to the mayor at 520-791-4201. Please be brief and polite when calling.