YouTube star baby elephant born at Oregon Zoo subject to custody battle that could condemn her to a life in the circus
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Monday 10 December 2012
A 300-pound baby elephant born at the Oregon Zoo in Portland has become the focus of controversy after a newspaper revealed a complex system of ownership that could doom it to a life in the circus.
The week-old female calf is the subject of a breeding contract between the zoo, which owns its mother, Rose-Tu, and Have Trunk Will Travel, a California-based elephant rental company, which owns its father, Tusko.
As The Seattle Times reported in a series of investigative articles about the poor treatment of pachyderms in captivity, the 2005 agreement gives Have Trunk Will Travel the legal right to claim the second, fourth and sixth offspring of Rose-Tu and Tusko’s union; the new arrival is their second.
To the horror of animal rights campaigners, the unnamed calf – whose adorable public debut has 23,000 YouTube views and counting – could thus be called upon as a prop for a Hollywood movie, as a circus performer, as a wedding attraction, or as a provider of elephant rides at $500 per hour.
At a heated press conference last week, however, the zoo’s director Kim Smith said the baby elephant would not be separated from its mother. “This is not an agreement that bears on where this animal lives,” Smith insisted. “Where the animal lives is at the Oregon Zoo.”
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...
£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Corporate Marketing Communications M...