Thursday, January 26, 2012

Connie and Shabe

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,
January 2012
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 Elephant_Tucson_Shaba_ConnieSanctuary 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.
what you can do graphic

Send a personal message to Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild at 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.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


PAWS saddened by loss of gentle giant Sabu,
our oldest Asian bull elephant

Today, I am sad to learn about the loss of one of PAWS elephants.

However, after years of performing he at least could enjoy the freedom to roam at PAWS in the Sierra Foothills, free to enjoy the company of his half-brother Nicholas and the other PAWS elephants during his last years.

As you know, I have been planning a great photo opportunity in March 2-4, 2012 to visit the elephants at PAWS and it is not too late to sign up for a full day at PAWS "Seeing the Elephants" [click link for details].  Besides this being a great opportunity to experience the remaining 8 elephants roaming freely in the Sierra Foothills, it is also a fundraiser for PAWS, an organization that I fully support.

Please give me a call at 650-326-4570 or email at to get more information or sign up.
[Registration deadline January 25, 2012]

January 13, 2012

PAWS saddened by loss of gentle giant Sabu,
our oldest Asian bull elephant

In Memoriam
Sabu: 11/1/82 to 1/11/12

San Andreas, CA - On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Sabu, PAWS' 29-year-old Asian bull elephant, succumbed to the effects of severe arthritis in multiple joints. We will miss this gentle giant.

Born November 1, 1982, at Portland Zoo, Sabu was transferred to a circus in 1984, and then retired to PAWS' ARK 2000 Sanctuary in September 2010. Here Sabu joined Nicholas, PAWS' youngest bull elephant, also retired from a circus, and half brother to Sabu.

The two bulls were fathered by Tunga, an Asian bull at Portland Zoo. Tunga was transferred to a circus facility after Sabu was born, and later sired Nicholas at that facility. Both Nicholas and Sabu performed in circuses when they were two years old. Nicholas was retired to PAWS when he was 13 years old, the first bull elephant at the ARK 2000 Sanctuary. Sabu, PAWS' second bull, arrived when Nicholas was 17. The two boys were close enough to see and communicate.

"It almost appeared that they knew they were related," Pat Derby, one of PAWS founders, commented. "It was obvious that they were communicating, although humans never hear the low frequency sounds that elephants use to gather information."

PAWS has keepers on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, PAWS directors who live on the property, were immediately alerted by the night keeper who was with Sabu when his giant body collapsed in his large dirt sleeping stall at approximately 3:30 on the morning of January 11. PAWS' veterinarian, Dr. Gai, and elephant supervisor Brian Busta, arrived shortly after Pat and Ed, and all agreed that efforts to lift him to a standing posture would be stressful, and his condition indicated that he would be unable to remain standing.

Sabu was beloved by all who worked with him. He was described by Brian Busta, as a "big, beautiful boy who was gentle, very intelligent and a best friend."
A team of pathologists from the University of California Davis conducted Sabu's necropsy and preliminary results were reported as "severe arthritis in multiple joints."

Dr. Gai stated, "The degree of severity is what I would expect to see in a 50+ year old captive Asian. I think we were all surprised to see arthritis like this in someone so relatively young."

Tuy Hoa, Sabu's maternal grandmother at Portland Zoo, was reported to have died "very young from crippling arthritis."

Nancy Burnet, Director of Bob Barker's DJ&T Foundation which funded Sabu's barn, pool and habitat, wrote to Sabu's keepers, "The bigger tragedy would have been if he'd never made it to PAWS - you were Sabu's angels. . . Your constant love and kindness created a wonderful bond. . . How wonderful it worked out so that he spent his last year at PAWS, luxuriating in the relief his pond provided, and moving about freely."

# # # #

The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is a nonprofit, captive wildlife protection

To see all workshops and photo travel opportunities 
offered by M. Raeder - Photography, please click here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Travel TidBits: California Coast

It’s January 1 and the promise of a new year lies ahead like an open book with blank pages that needs to be filled with new adventures.

For now, I am spending another day along the California coast driving south on Highway 1 and stopping at Moss Landing to search for otters and finding all kind of beach activities on this beautiful crisp winter day.

Although most of the otters are floating further out, one is napping close by.  And patience is rewarded as he opens his eyes and is looking right at me.

On the beach, the early morning wind and waves attracted the surfers who are enjoying the brisk wave action leaving fleeting footprints in the sand.

Out of the water, these guys are enjoying a good barbecue.

The midday sun is warm and inviting, and it appears that everybody in Pacific Grove is at the water front strolling, talking, walking the dog or just enjoying the first day of the year outside.  Even the birds and bees!

And onwards, as my goal was to see McWay Falls in Pfeiffer State Park further south along the Highway 1.  I had driven this part just last week, but today it seemed to be crowded everywhere I turned.  People were stopping at each Vista Point, and hiking in the hills above the ocean.  

The sun was setting as I shouldered my tripod and camera to catch the setting sun over the little cove where McWay Falls empties right onto the beach below.  

It’s a gorgeous spot and a beautiful sight!!  Turning around, the coast seemed to be glowing in the red setting sun.

Into sunset and beyond, the light kept changing and as darkness fell, I headed north again on my way home.

Winter is the best time to experience the coast without the fog - so go out and enjoy what California has to offer.

Til next time, 

To explore the coast further south and see the elephant seal rookery, check out the Photo Workshop in San Simeon on January 21/22, 2012.  Spaces still available.