DNF Review: Night of the Animals, Bill Broun (2016)

Friday, July 15th, 2016

 

In this imaginative debut, the tale of Noah’s Ark is brilliantly recast as a story of fate and family, set in a near-future London.

Over the course of a single night in 2052, a homeless man named Cuthbert Handley sets out on an astonishing quest: to release the animals of the London Zoo. As a young boy, Cuthbert’s grandmother had told him he inherited a magical ability to communicate with the animal world—a gift she called the Wonderments. Ever since his older brother’s death in childhood, Cuthbert has heard voices. These maddening whispers must be the Wonderments, he believes, and recently they have promised to reunite him with his lost brother and bring about the coming of a Lord of Animals . . . if he fulfills this curious request.

Cuthbert flickers in and out of awareness throughout his desperate pursuit. But his grand plan is not the only thing that threatens to disturb the collective unease of the city. Around him is greater turmoil, as the rest of the world anxiously anticipates the rise of a suicide cult set on destroying the world’s animals along with themselves. Meanwhile, Cuthbert doggedly roams the zoo, cutting open the enclosures, while pressing the animals for information about his brother.

Just as this unlikely yet loveable hero begins to release the animals, the cult’s members flood the city’s streets. Has Cuthbert succeeded in harnessing the power of the Wonderments, or has he only added to the chaos—and sealed these innocent animals’ fates? Night of the Animals is an enchanting and inventive tale that explores the boundaries of reality, the ghosts of love and trauma, and the power of redemption.

(Synopsis via Goodreads.)

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Book Review: The Sunken (Engine Ward Book 1), S.C. Green (2014)

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

“By Great Conductor’s steam-driven testicles!”

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program. Also, trigger warning for rape. I summarize some of the plot points below, but try to avoid any major spoilers.)

Set in London in 1820 and 1830, The Sunken imagines an alternate history in which dragons thrive in the swamps surrounding London; King George III is a vampire/cannibal/madman; and traditional, god-fearing religions have been abolished in favor of those that worship science. In this new old England, engineers, physicians, scholars, artists, and poets lead their own churches and sects, sermonizing on their latest theories and inventions.

The Sunken follows four childhood friends in boyhood (in 1820, they are fifteen years of age and on the cusp of going their separate ways) and adulthood (in 1830, they reunite in a London destined for radical change). The son of a Lord, Nicholas Rose is about to depart with the Royal Navy on a post bought and paid for by his cruel father – as is his adventure-seeking comrade, James Holman. Meanwhile, Isambard Kingdom Brunel is to continue studying engineering under the tutelage of his father Marc. Ditto: Henry Williams, who – as the descendant of the great dragon hunter Aaron Williams Senior – occupies one of the top social rungs among the lowly Stokers, the laborers who keep the great machines under London running. The day before Nicholas and James are to set sail, there’s an accident in Marc’s school which claims the life of Henry; Marc is tried for negligence and banished to Van Diem’s Land, leaving Isambard in the care of his abusive mother.

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Mini-Review: Destiny, K.C. Maguire (2012)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Boy Buys Girl, Girl Evolves

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic copy of this story for review through Library Thing’s Member Giveaways program. Also, the last paragraph contains a vague spoiler.)

“What’s the point of a new generation if we can live forever?” And there it is. My whole problem with the Transition. Truthfully, I always wanted kids. But Tara didn’t…and Destiny can’t. So what’s the point?

When Joe’s wife Tara leaves him after more than a decade of marriage, he does what many middle-aged, newly-single men of the future do: he buys a companionship android. At first glance, the T-26 known as Destiny might seem to be at odds with Joe’s longstanding resistance to the Transition – in which one’s consciousness is downloaded into a synthetic version of one’s body; everybody’s doing it! – but Destiny is a true android: preprogrammed with a variety of factory settings (Erotic, Housewife), she lacks any humanity of her own. Whereas Joe’s Transitioned friends are constant reminders of the crumbling wall between “human” and “machine,” Destiny is 100%, honest to goodness not-human.

Much like his plasma screen tv and toaster oven, Destiny is just another one of Joe’s toys. Until the day she isn’t. Destiny begins to learn. Evolve. Becomes sentient.

As Joe finds himself falling in love with an android, he must decide what’s more important to him: his humanity, increasingly rare these days – or eternal love.

Smart and full of heart, Destiny is a fun and quick read – a little too quick, if you ask me. I’d love to see this story expanded in novel form. The Habitat Facility is a nice touch, and it’s interesting to observe how Joe’s behavior parallels that of some nonhuman animals kept in confinement (pandas, for example, are notoriously reluctant to mate in zoos, leading to the rise of panda porn).

(This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

June 20th marks the 1st International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

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On June 20th (that’s a week from this Saturday, folks), In Defense of Animals will be holding the first-ever International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ for short).

IDA describes IDAEZ as

a global event aimed at bringing mammoth attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and ending their suffering. On Saturday, June 20th, pro-elephant advocates will turn out en masse at their local zoos, holding outreach events and demonstrations to educate the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, impoverished zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.

Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing. […]

The elephants need your help! By participating in this event, you become part of a global community of pro-elephant advocates joined together on June 20th to end the suffering of elephants in zoos. We urge you to organize or join an event at your local zoo, write letters, educate your friends and family. It’s all about taking action. United, we are a powerful force for change!

Backed by an army of public relations personnel, the zoo industry has been largely successful in convincing the general public that zoos work for the public good: breeding endangered animal species which might otherwise go extinct; fostering in children a love and appreciation for nature and its inhabitants; throwing their weight behind sundry conservation efforts so that, one day, animals need not live in captivity for their species to survive. This is a lie.

(More below the fold…)

The not-so-curious case of Santino the chimpanzee.

Friday, March 13th, 2009

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Santino the chimp with a stone in his hand. Photograph: PA

Many of you have no doubt already heard the story of Santino, a chimpanzee being held captive in a Swedish zoo who, in gathering rocks to throw at visitors to the zoo/prison, evidenced abstract thinking and planning for the future.

STOCKHOLM (AP) – A canny chimpanzee who calmly collected a stash of rocks and then hurled them at zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed that apes can plan ahead just like humans, a Swedish study said Monday. Santino the chimpanzee’s anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully prepared.

According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his enclosure. He waited until around midday before he unleashed a “hailstorm” of rocks against visitors, the study said.

“These observations convincingly show that our fellow apes do consider the future in a very complex way,” said the author of the report, Lund University Ph.D. student Mathias Osvath. “It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events.” […]

Osvath said the chimpanzee had also been observed tapping on concrete boulders in the park to identify weak parts and then knocking out a piece. If it was too big for throwing, he broke it into smaller pieces, before adding them to his arsenal.

“It is very special that he first realizes that he can make these and then plans on how to use them,” Osvath said. “This is more complex than what has been showed before.” […]

For a while, zoo keepers tried locking Santino up in the morning so he couldn’t collect ammunition for his assaults, but he remained aggressive. They ultimately decided to castrate him in the autumn last year, but will have to wait until the summer to see if that helps. The chimpanzees are only kept outdoors between April and October and Santino’s special behavior usually occurs in June and July.

“It is normal behavior for alpha males to want to influence their surroundings … It is extremely frustrating for him that there are people out of his reach who are pointing at him and laughing,” Osvath said. “It cannot be good to be so furious all the time.”

I’ll try to not rehash what others have said, but if I may, a few points:

I’ve noticed that a disturbing number of news articles refer to Santino as “belligerent,” “anti-social,” and the like. His behavior is characterized as unreasonably antagonistic and hostile, as if it’s wholly unprovoked. On the contrary; Santino’s actions are defensive, not offensive. How would you respond if, day in and day out, naked apes invaded your space, gawked, laughed and pointed at you, and occasionally even assaulted your person, both verbally and physically? (Anyone who’s taken even the occasional trip to a zoo has witnessed humans – adults and children alike – harass the animals, usually with words and noises, but also with improvised weapons.) Probably you wouldn’t like it. Probably you’d become fed up and eventually lash out. Santino is 31 years old; though I’ve no clue how long he’s been held captive in a zoo, probably it’s been years – possibly, decades. How would you handle 31 years of captivity and slow torture?

In regards to the zoo keepers’ efforts to control Santino’s “belligerent” behavior by castrating the poor bloke, I say this: isn’t the obvious answer to remove him from the gorram display? That’s the real issue at play here, not his aggression or excessive levels of testosterone.

And also: humans often invoke our superior intellect – whether this is defined as a sense of self, ability to plan for the future, ability to craft and use tools, what have you – as an ethical justification for our exploitation and enslavement of non-human animals. So what do we do when a non-human animal exhibits human-like intelligence? Why, we (try to) castrate it out of him, of course! Can’t have a dirty, filthy ape acting like a person now, can we? Oh, the irony.

I can only hope that Brother Kwan – another forward-thinking primate – escaped his captors after his own attempt at freedom. Brother, described only as “a monkey,” killed his abusive owner by throwing a coconut at the man’s head. Slave owner Leilit Janchoom died instantly.

Perchance Brother Kawn will make an appearance on a future segment of TCR’s “Monkey on the Lam“?

(More below the fold…)

Puppy/Pachy Love

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Hat tip to my lil’ sis, who sent me a link to this video the other day.

CBS News reports on “The Animal Odd Couple”:

The so-called “odd couple” in this story is Tarra (an elephant) and Bella (a dog), both residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

I say “so-called” because interspecies friendships aren’t exactly unheard of; heck, according to the AVMA, 43,021,000 American households “own” dogs, 37,460,000 “own” cats, 4,453,000 “own” birds and 2,087,000 “own” horses. While many of these relationships are more akin to that of master/slave, these numbers still allow for quite a few cross-species friendships between human and non-human animals. Personally, I count Ralphie, Peedee, O-Ren, Kaylee and Jayne among my bestest of friends.

Oh, but wait! In common parlance, humans aren’t considered “animals” – so interspecies friendships in which one half of the pair is human doesn’t register as an “odd” “animal” couple. Well, allow me to deconstruct further.

When 37.2% of U.S. households include at least one dog, and 32.4% include one or more cats, there’s bound to be some crossover. Interspecies friendships, in fact, aren’t as uncommon as you might think, human-animal relationships aside. Just Google “interspecies friendships” and you’ll get an idea of how rich and social the lives of non-human animals can be, especially when lived without human interference (such as isolating them from other non-human animals).

Of course, pachyderm/canine relationships are still somewhat odd, inasmuch as domesticated dogs and elephants don’t normally come into contact with one another. But you get my drift, yeah? – Namely, just because we (as in, the collective “we”) don’t take the time or effort to recognize the complexity of a species’ needs, desires and interactions, doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

We simply choose not to see the “humanizing” characteristics in non-human animals:

Because Dog forbid we recognize how closely animal sentience mirrors our own.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Billy’s Last Chance [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Monday, January 12th, 2009

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Jan 9, 2009 10:27 PM
Subject: Billy’s Last Chance [FRIENDS OF KC ALERT]

Kinship Circle - Friends of KC Banner

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT – PERMISSION TO CROSSPOST

COMING SOON: Friends Of Kinship Circle Blog

LOOK FOR THE DEBUT OF OUR NEW BLOG, FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE…
Where your alerts will reach a huge web readership. We’ll keep you posted!

Kinship Circle does not write/research these alerts. We’re not responsible for their accuracy. Please do NOT hit reply! Contact the source directly.

FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE ALERT
1/9/09: Last Chance To Close L.A. Elephant Display & Free Billy

SOURCES / REPLY TO:

FOR QUESTIONS, CONTACT: zoos [at] idausa.org or 323-301-5730
Bettina, brosie96 [at] yahoo.com
Los Angeles Alliance for Elephants, davidkca [at] earthlink.net

BILLY’S LAST CHANCE

City Council member Tony Cardenas has presented a motion to stop the L.A. Zoo’s $42 million elephant exhibit renovation. Despite its mammoth expense to taxpayers, it still will not provide the space elephants need, and elephants will continue to suffer and die painfully and prematurely at the Zoo. Fifteen elephants have died at L.A. Zoo. More than half never lived to age 20. Elephants have a natural lifespan of 60-70 years.

We urgently need your help to close the L.A. Zoo elephant exhibit and send its lone elephant, Billy, to a sanctuary. We are so close to freeing him from his lonely existence in a miserable, barren zoo pen — please don’t let him down! This is our last chance to make a difference. There are two very important meetings next week + other actions to take:

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: Billy’s Fate – Close L.A. Zoo Exhibit

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Update, 12/3/08: Kinship Circle: Free Billy: 12/3 Council Meeting + Comments Needed

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Nov 20, 2008 4:14 PM
Subject: [KC Member Alert] Billy’s Fate: Close L.A. Zoo Exhibit

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST

The following information is brought to you courtesy of Kinship Circle.
Please DO NOT hit reply! Respond directly to alert sources below.

ALERT FROM KINSHIP CIRCLE SUPPORTER:
11/20/08: Billy’s Fate – Close L.A. Zoo Elephant Exhibit For Good

SOURCES / REPLY TO:
Bettina, brosie96 [at] yahoo.com
LA animalrights, laanimalrights [at] yahoogroups.com

BACKGROUND:

UPDATE ON MOTION TO CLOSE L.A. ZOO ELEPHANT EXHIBIT AND SEND BILLY TO A SANCTUARY — The City Council heard Councilmember Cardenas’ motions on November 19, 2008 at 10am. After 4 hours of deliberation, the council voted to send both issues — stopping construction of the elephant exhibit and sending Billy to a sanctuary — to the Finance Committee.

This is Billy’s last chance at a taste of freedom! The Cardenas motion represents Billy’s only chance to get out of his miserable, barren pen at the L.A. Zoo. And it’s a chance to save future elephants from suffering and dying prematurely in a $42 million exhibit that still doesn’t provide the space elephants need. This $42 million is being spent at a time when the city is looking at a budget overage of $10 million. Encourage the members to spend the city’s money in a more responsible way. Send Billy to a sanctuary and halt construction of an elephant exhibit.

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Don’t Send Jenny To Mexican Display Park

Monday, June 30th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Sun, Jun 29, 2008 at 5:00 PM
Subject: ACT/ Don’t Send Jenny To Mexican Display Park

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

6/29/08: Don’t Send Elephant Jenny To Mexican Display Park

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
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Kinship Circle - 2008-06-29 - Don't Send Elephant Jenny To Mexican Display Park

Jenny, the 31-year-old African elephant, will move to the Africam Safari Park, a 617-acre forested wildlife park located 80-miles southeast of Mexico City, zoo officials said today. Dallas News

(More below the fold…)

PETA: Dickerson Park Zoo’s Underhanded Activities Exposed!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: PETA – newsmanager [at] peta.org
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2008 at 11:26 AM
Subject: Dickerson Park Zoo’s Underhanded Activities Exposed!

Documents received by PETA reveal that in 2007, the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Mo., “donated” a kudu and a kangaroo to Buddy Jordan, a notorious animal dealer who has been featured in numerous media investigative reports. The media investigations have all documented that Jordan sold animals to hunting ranches, operators of exotic-animal auctions, exotic-animal breeders and dealers, unaccredited zoos, and pet owners. The zoo also sold two giraffes to Los Jaboncillos Ranch in Texas and transferred three kangaroos and a wallaby to Dianna Tatum, a licensed animal dealer.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) states that it accredits “only those institutions that have achieved rigorous standards for animal care …” and has a policy that prohibits accredited zoos from sending animals to auctions or hunting ranches. Clearly, the Dickerson Park Zoo fails on all counts.

You Can Help

(More below the fold…)

Kinship Circle: ACT/ Death Is Price Of Freedom At SF Zoo

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net
Date: Dec 28, 2007 4:05 PM
Subject: ACT/ Death Is Price Of Freedom At SF Zoo

KINSHIP CIRCLE PRIMARY – PERMISSION TO CROSS-POST AS WRITTEN

12/28/07: Death Is Price Of Freedom At San Francisco Zoo
http://www.KinshipCircle.org

Kinship Circle - 2007-12-28 - SF Zoo

PHOTO: This undated handout from the San Francisco Zoo (SFZ) shows female Siberian tiger, named Tatiana, [who] managed to escape from [her] enclosure and maul three people, killing one of them. US media report that the tiger may have been helped out of its den by one of the victims.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071227/ts_alt_afp/usanimals_071227152920

EMAIL kinshipcircle [at] accessus.net FOR WORD DOC OF A FORMATTED LETTER.
Easily modify letter and copy/paste it into an email or print out to fax or mail.

==========================

CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.

==========================

(More below the fold…)

IDA: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Why, oh why, do I get the feeling that this post will see a disproportionate amount of traffic?*

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Dec 7, 2007 6:48 PM
Subject: Urgent: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

Urgent Action Alert: Help elephants by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Deadline is this Monday, December 10!

The Woodland Park Zoo has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for an extension of its permit to import semen from a male Asian elephant named Rex at African Lion Safari in Canada for the purpose of artificially inseminating its female elephant, Chai. The Zoo is proceeding with the artificial insemination (AI) attempts despite the known risk that any baby born will contract the deadly elephant herpes virus, which in June claimed the life of Chai’s six-year old daughter Hansa.

The elephant herpesvirus causes death by massive internal hemorrhage and has claimed the lives of 10 elephants since 2000.

In addition to the loss of her daughter, Chai has endured four failed artificial insemination attempts to date. The procedure is highly invasive; elephants are restrained for several hours at a time while veterinarians pass an endoscope through their entire reproductive tract into the uterus.

In their zeal to produce a baby elephant (which always increases zoo attendance), Woodland Park Zoo officials are willing to subject any offspring produced to the significant risks of contracting this deadly virus, and to force the mother, Chai, to endure the anguish of watching another baby die a terrible death.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Elephant breeding under fire

Friday, December 7th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Dec 5, 2007 2:57 PM
Subject: Writing Alert: Elephant breeding under fire

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article about a report IDA issued on the deadly elephant herpes virus. Please write a letter to the editor supporting IDA’s call for an end to breeding of Asian elephants at affected zoos, as well as for severe restrictions on the transfer of elephants between facilities. Send letters to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer at editpage [at] .seattlepi.com.

Read “Elephant breeding under fire” online.

Elephant breeding under fire

Risk to baby too high, activists tell zoo leaders

Last updated December 4, 2007
By KATHY MULADY
P-I REPORTER

Animal rights activists called Woodland Park Zoo’s elephant breeding program “reckless” and “irresponsible,” and demanded Tuesday that zoo leaders abandon plans to artificially inseminate an elephant next month.

The group wants to stop the insemination of Chai until a treatment or cure is found for herpes, the virus that killed the elephant’s 6-year-old offspring, Hansa, in June.

“It is just common sense. You have a contaminated facility. There is a very, very good chance you will have another death,” Catherine Doyle from In Defense of Animals told zoo board members.

“It is unconscionable for the zoo to risk subjecting another young elephant to this fatal disease and putting Chai through the anguish of watching another baby die a terrible death.”

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Thinking big when it comes to elephants

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 14, 2007 8:40 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Thinking big when it comes to elephants

The Oregonian published an opinion piece about Oregon Zoo’s plans to expand its elephant exhibit. Please write a letter to the editor on the suffering elephants endure in zoos. Send letters to the Oregonian at letters [at] news.oregonian.com.

Read “Thinking big when it comes to elephants” online.

Thinking big when it comes to elephants

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three decades ago, the Oregon Zoo was considered a world leader on captive Asian elephants. Today, even those representing the zoo admit that’s no longer the case. Despite evolving scientific knowledge about elephants and their complex needs, the Oregon Zoo, like most urban zoos, is living in the past. As a result, these endangered animals are needlessly suffering.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not for lack of trying. A behind-the-scenes tour leaves no doubt that those who look after Portland’s most popular zoo residents are doing what they can within the facility’s space limitations. But for years, the zoo has kept six or more elephants confined to pens the size of an average suburban backyard. That might be fine for the family dog, but we now know it’s totally inadequate for earth’s largest land mammal, which can weigh as much as 10,000 pounds and which has evolved to walk long distances each day.

Restricted space and unnatural conditions are causing the elephants to suffer and die prematurely from chronically diseased feet and crippling arthritis. Those challenges and the associated expense have led 16 major zoos to close or phase out their elephant exhibits, including zoos in Detroit, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York.

(More below the fold…)

LCA: Elephant Dies at San Antonio Zoo-Urge Closure of Elephant Exhibit! 11/12

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Last Chance for Animals – campaigns [at] lcanimal.org
Date: Nov 12, 2007 10:01 PM
Subject: Elephant Dies at San Antonio Zoo-Urge Closure of Elephant Exhibit! 11/12

As Maggie explores her new life in Sanctuary, Alport dies after a lifetime in Captivity!

Animal activists across the country are celebrating the relocation of Maggie from the Alaska Zoo to PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in California. Unfortunately, while life for Maggie has dramatically improved, hundreds of elephants across the country are still suffering in captivity.

Alport, a lifelong captive of the San Antonio Zoo, died early this month. She lived at the zoo since she was donated only four years after her birth in Kenya in 1958. Although the cause of Alport’s death is not immediately known, a veterinarian last week diagnosed her with a painful orthopedic tear.

Alport was noticeably uncomfortable last Wednesday, Oct 31st, and was struggling to walk and stand on Thursday morning, she finally collapsed and was unable to get up on her own on Friday, Nov 1st, at 5:30 A.M.

Alport’s death leaves just one elephant at the San Antonio Zoo, a 47 year old elephant named Lucky.

Since 2000, 56 elephants have died at A.Z.A. accredited institutions, half of them dying before the age of 40. Elephants in the wild live up to 70 years of age. Elephants are suffering in captivity – the proof is before our eyes – we must speak and act on their behalf.

Please take a minute and write to the San Antonio Zoo, encourage them to send Lucky to sanctuary and (most importantly) to close their elephant exhibit permanently. Sample text is below, contact information is at box to left.

(More below the fold…)

IDA: Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 2, 2007 11:40 AM
Subject: Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary

Maggie Arrives Safely at PAWS Sanctuary
U.S. Air Force pilots successfully complete Operation Maggie Migration

After 25 years, Maggie has finally made the move from a tiny enclosure at the Alaska Zoo to her new home at the Performing Animal Welfare Society elephant sanctuary in Northern California. This is a great day not only for Maggie, but for IDA and everyone else who has worked to secure her freedom. We offer our sincerest thanks and congratulations to everyone who helped make this victory possible.

This historic trip included a five-hour flight in a temperature-controlled crate aboard a United States Air Force C-17 cargo plane from Alaska to Travis Air Force Base, followed by an 85-mile drive in a flatbed truck to PAWS. Maggie arrived safely on schedule at the sanctuary at 6:30 this morning.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Nov 1, 2007 11:20 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette printed an opinion piece about the Pittsburgh Zoo’s new elephant breeding facility. Please write a letter to the editor thanking them for publishing the piece and addressing the zoo conservation myth. Send letters to letters [at] post-gazette.com.

Read “Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them” online.

Breeding elephants doesn’t protect them

Zoos like those in Pittsburgh should help preserve the animals’ native habitat instead

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
By Marianne Bessey

During this month’s ground-breaking ceremony at the Pittsburgh zoo’s proposed elephant breeding facility in Somerset Country, lots of lip service was paid to “conservation.” It is without question that elephants, endangered in Asia and threatened in Africa, desperately need help. But will spending millions of dollars on breeding a handful of elephants actually help elephants — or just the zoo’s bottom line?

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Elephants suffer in zoos

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Oct 30, 2007 10:46 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Elephants suffer in zoos

The Birmingham News published an opinion piece about Birmingham Zoo’s plans for a new elephant exhibit. Please write a letter to the editor on the suffering elephants endure in zoos urging the zoo to scrap any such plans. Send letters to the Birmingham News at epage [at] bhamnews.com.

Read “Elephants suffer in zoos” online.

Elephants suffer in zoos

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Birmingham Zoo’s plan to create a new, $15 million exhibit to house six to eight male elephants ignores the elephant in the room: the fact that landlocked urban zoos cannot provide Earth’s largest land mammals with the space and natural conditions they need to thrive.

The zoo’s proposed 14-acre Trails of Africa exhibit may sound good on paper, but even if elephants were allowed to roam the entire acreage (an unlikely prospect given the inability of zoos to house male elephants together due to aggression issues and the space that will be taken up by indoor housing and visitor amenities), it would still be inadequate for six to eight pachyderms.

Elephants evolved to walk tens of miles daily. Their feet were meant to dig, climb, swim, run and even stand, but all on natural dirt, sand, grass, forest and savanna floor, which maintain foot and joint health.

Zoo conditions prevent elephants from exercising, forcing them to stand, virtually in one place, for decades on unyielding substrates like concrete and compacted earth. These conditions wreak havoc on elephants’ joints and feet. More than 60 percent of all elephants in zoos suffer from foot disease, and nearly half have arthritis. These painful conditions are the leading cause of suffering and premature death of elephants in zoos.

(More below the fold…)

LCA: 10/29 Elephant Update! Alaska Zoo Ele to Sanctuary-L.A. Zoo Faces Lawsuit!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Last Chance for Animals – campaigns [at] lcanimal.org
Date: Oct 29, 2007 7:46 PM
Subject: 10/29 Elephant Update! Alaska Zoo Ele to Sanctuary-L.A. Zoo Faces Lawsuit!

Maggie, Alaska Zoo Elephant, to Sanctuary! Zoo to Close Elephant Exhibit!

Judge Refuses to Dismiss L.A. Zoo Elephant Abuse Case!

Great News! Maggie, the lone elephant in the Alaska Zoo, will move to PAWS Elephant Sanctuary in Northern California!

EVEN GREATER NEWS! THE ALASKA ZOO IS PERMANENTLY CLOSING THEIR ELEPHANT EXHIBIT!

On November 1st, Maggie will be flying from Alaska to California, via an Air Force cargo craft. Last month, the Alaska Zoo Board of Directors decided that it was in the best interest to her health and well-being to be with other elephants in a milder climate. This announcement came after years of controversy over Maggie’s health, culminating this May after Maggie had to be hoisted to her feet twice, following an illness.

Thanks to all your phone calls, emails and faxes, Maggie is free from captivity, but most importantly, thank you for helping to permanently close down the Alaska Zoo elephant exhibit. Countless other elephants will be saved from the horrors of captivity. The Alaska Zoo is now the 12th Zoo in recent years to permanently close down or phase out their elephant exhibit.

Maggie is also the third elephant moved to sanctuary this year. Dulary from the Philadelphia Zoo and Ruby from the Los Angeles Zoo were also moved to sanctuary this year. The Philadelphia Zoo made the decision to permanently close down their elephant exhibit, while the Los Angeles Zoo is still moving forward, unfortuntately, with a new $39 million dollar exhibit.

(More below the fold…)

IDA Writing Alert: Coming this fall: Zoo expansion plans

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Jul 16, 2007 10:58 AM
Subject: Writing Alert: Coming this fall: Zoo expansion plans

The Birmingham News published a story about Birmingham Zoo’s future plans for a new elephant exhibit. Please write a letter to the editor on the suffering elephants endure in zoos urging the zoo to scrap any such plans. Send letters to the Birmingham News at epage [at] bhamnews.com.

Read “Coming this fall: Zoo expansion plans” online.

Coming this fall: Zoo expansion plans

Sunday, July 15, 2007
STAN DIEL and WALTER BRYANT, News staff writers

Mona, the elephant beloved by her fans but pitied by animal rights activists before her death last month, will not be the Birmingham Zoo’s last elephant.

An ambitious zoo expansion plan to be unveiled in the fall will include a “much bigger” elephant exhibit, said Dr. Bill Foster, the zoo’s chief executive officer.

(More below the fold…)