Portland Zoo Breaks Ties with Abusive Traveling Circus

By Kirsten Massebeau

Rose Tu's calve Lily now Owned by Portland ZooBy Portland Zoo

Rose Tu’s calve Lily now Owned by Portland Zoo
By Portland Zoo

On February 7, 2013 the Portland Oregon Zoo announced that they had purchased Rose Tu’s new calve Lily and the father to Lily and Sumadra,  Tusko who has been on loan since 2005. The Zoo has paid $400,000 for both elephants permanently ending their contract with “Have Trunk will Travel”! (Source)

On December 3, 2012 it was revealed by the Seattle Times that Rose Tu’s new calve was owned by the  traveling elephant circus, “Have Trunk will Travel” and could be seized one month after the birth.

Kari Johnson, who co-owns the business with her husband, Gary, confirmed Monday that Have Trunk Will Travel owns legal rights to the newborn under a contract signed with the Oregon Zoo in 2005. Details of the newborn’s future have not been worked out, she said.

“We are just thrilled,” Johnson said. “We’ll go for a visit soon. I just want to hug her.” (source)

Have Trunk will Travel has a controversial past and present relationship with the elephants they house, own, train, and use in their traveling circus. Under cover video secretly taken by ADI in 2007 documented cruel and abusive treatment of elephants. “The company has generated controversy over its 30-year history for its use of chains and bullhooks — long-handled, clawed-end training tools used to discipline elephants and train them to perform tricks”. (Source)

On the right Elephant Trainer and owner of Have Trunk will Travel Kari Johnson

Kari Johnson and fellow trainer harshly disiplining baby elephants

Thanks to the concerns of Oregonians and elephant advocates nationwide the Oregon Zoo has ended their relationship with Have Trunk Will Travel. Lily and Tusko are now owned by the Oregon Zoo and will not be subjected to a life of suffering with the travel circus. Although good news for the two elephants we at Clatsop Animal Advocates are hoping that Lily’s story will bring awareness and support for the elephants and animals that continue to suffer in circuses and entertainment industry worldwide.

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Elephants Suffering A Big Price For Human Entertainment

On the right Elephant Trainer and owner of Have Trunk will Travel Kari Johnson

On the right Elephant Trainer and owner of Have Trunk will Travel Kari Johnson

Elephant activists are making more headway everyday as evidenced by L.A. County’s recent announcement that would ban elephants from performing in circuses (sources) For many years animal  advocates have opposed the use of elephants in entertainment and for display. It has been proven time and time again how these highly intelligent and sensitive beings suffer in circuses, and captivity. Elephants live in complex communities where families stay together for a lifetime.

Lawrence Oliver's Elephant friends

Lawrence Oliver’s Elephant Friends

As seen most recently in March of 2012, an entire herd of elephants led by two matriachs traveled for 12 miles to pay respect to the man who loved them known as, “The Elephant Whisperer”, Lawrence Anthony who had passed away two days prior:

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence ‘s passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way: Walking slowly – for days – Making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.*Lawrence’s wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years. (source)

With all the evidence and scientific proof of how these greatly these individuals suffer in circuses it seems that every county would turn away from the use of elephants in entertainment. We at Clatsop Animal Advocates would like to see the Portland Oregon Zoo follow the caring and loving example of Lawrence Anthony and end their relationship with Have Trunk Will Travel.

Isn’t it time that we of Clatsop County, all Oregonians and Americans stand up for elephants and put their welfare and best interests ahead of our selfish entertainment at their expense! Please follow the LINK and sign the petition asking the Oregon Zoo to end their relationship with Have Trunk Will Travel.

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