Journal Entry

19 May 2005 ... Elephants

You may remember last November, I wrote a little blurb about two Asian elephants I was interested in, Wanda and Winky. They were stuck in the cold and tiny Detroit zoo and the director there, Ron Kagan, wanted to send them to a sanctuary for ethical reasons. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association was being nasty and wanted to send the elephants to another zoo, just as cold and just as tiny.

Fortunately, Wanda and Winky were saved due to a technicality... they had been exposed to tuberculosis. This means they would have to be kept separate from non-TB herds, and also they could not be used for breeding. So, no zoos want them now.

So, YAY! On 8 April 2005, Wanda and Winky arrived at the Performing Animal Welfare Society's ARK 2000 in California. There's a couple photos of them in their new home at the PAWS website: Meet Wanda and Winky.

So, now we've got our next elephant challenge. The Hawthorn 12...

Hawthorn Corp rents out elephants to circuses. Their history of cruelty stretches back for decades... Starting in 1978 when an elephant killed her trainer. More recently:

Tyke was shot to death in August 1994 after getting pissed off and killing her trainer and rampaging. You've probably seen the video of this, it's made the rounds at Real TV and Maximum Exposure. What they don't tell you is that Tyke had a history of escaping and attacking trainers. Oh, and, the jerk Tyke killed: was drunk and high. He deserved to die, but Tyke should have been sent to a sanctuary years before she was killed.

Dumbo died in Dec 1994 of tuberculosis. In August 1996, two elephants, Joyce and Hattie died of tuberculosis. They were both working until their death, even tho they had less than 20% lung function.

In April 2003, the Hawthorn Corp was finally charged with cruelty to 12 of their remaining 16 elephants. The following year, March 2004, Hawthorn settled the lawsuit by volunteering to give up all of their elephants and paying a fine. The elephants were supposed to be elsewhere by 15 August 2004, but they were still chained up in their barn, and in fact most of them are still there today.

The red tape reigns. But Delhi was taken from Hawthorn in Nov 2003, and has been living at The Elephant Sanctuary since. Tess died at Hawthorn, still chained, in Nov 2004. Lota and Misty were taken from Hawthorn and arrived at The Elephant Sanctuary on 17 Nov 2004.

Lota was in poor health due to advanced tuberculosis, and she died 9 Feb 2005. But she was free and she was cared for and loved in her last three months. This does not make up for her life of cruelty.

There are twelve elephants left at Hawthorn and The Elephant Sanctuary is currently building a quarantine area for them. The TB elephants must be kept separate from the other elephants, and will be treated for the disease before they can join the main herd at the Sanctuary.

What You Can Do:

Please consider donating to The Elephant Sanctuary. These guys are the coolest and the kindest!

Never go to a circus with animal acts.

Hawthorn Elephant Links:

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