Anchorage zoo attacked for elephant care

Jan. 19, 2007 at 2:54 PM
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- An animal rights group has rated the zoo in Anchorage, Alaska, as the worst in the country for elephants.

The zoo has only one, Maggie, a 7,500-pound African elephant, the Anchorage Daily News said. She has been in Anchorage for two decades and has been living alone since the zoo's Asian elephant, Annabelle, died in 1997.

In 2004, the zoo almost sent Maggie to a sanctuary in Tennessee. Instead, staffers created an elephant treadmill to give Maggie more exercise than she normally does in her 1,600-square-foot enclosure. Unfortunately, they have not been able to convince her to use the exercise machine.

"While the zoo touts Maggie as a major attraction in the summertime, she is essentially warehoused during the harsh Alaskan winters," In Defense of Animals said in its report.

Anchorage and the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama tied as the worst elephant zoos on the group's list. The runners-up included the Oregon Zoo, the St. Louis Zoo and the Los Angeles Zoo.

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