Packy_Oregon Zoo_2013

IDA Protests Oregon Zoo on Elephant Packy’s Birthday

April 17th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer


IDA Protests Oregon Zoo on Elephant Packy’s Birthday

IDA wants to thank everyone who attended Sunday’s demonstration at the Oregon Zoo in support of the elephant Packy. IDA joined forces with a local advocacy group called Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants to send a strong message to the zoo and visitors that 51 years in captivity is nothing to celebrate, calling on the Oregon Zoo to retire Packy. It sounds like Portland residents are hearing the message—attendance appeared to be down significantly from previous years. 

The zoo stages Packy’s birthday every year as a major celebration and accomplishment of the zoo, yet Packy’s life is a miserable reflection of what elephants across North America endure in zoos: deprivation, lack of space, and chronic health problems.

The eight elephants at the Oregon Zoo spend their lives in tiny barren paddocks and barn stalls. The zoo’s cramped and unnatural environment causes elephants to suffer, leading to health problems directly related to captivity. The zoo’s own medical records document health issues including chronic foot disease, severe joint disease, recurrent abscesses, lesions, ulcers, and fissures. Packy suffers from chronic problems with cracked nails and lesions, and exhibits unnatural behavior including repeated head bobbing—an indication he’s in severe psychological distress.

Further, the zoo’s reckless breeding program subjects more elephants to harmful conditions without taking any meaningful measures to improve the lives and welfare of the elephants already at the zoo. A planned offsite preserve, originally pitched to voters as a second home for the zoo’s elephants, will now be used as breeding facility, providing no relief to the existing elephants.