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IDA to Protest Oregon Zoo on Elephant’s Birthday

April 11th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer

In Defense Of Animals Slams Oregon Zoo’s “Celebration” Of Elephant Packy’s Miserable Life

Animal protection organization says 51 years in captivity is nothing to celebrate

Portland, Ore. (April 11, 2013) – This Sunday, April 14, In Defense of Animals (IDA), an international animal protection organization with an office in Portland, will speak up for Packy—a long-suffering elephant at the Oregon Zoo.

Packy will turn 51-years-old this weekend and while the zoo sees this as cause for celebration, the sad reality of Packy’s life has been five long decades of deprivation in captivity. IDA is partnering with the group Free the Oregon Zoo Elephants to urge the Oregon Zoo to retire Packy.

What: IDA demonstration for Packy at the Oregon Zoo
When: Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: Oregon Zoo’s main entrance, 4001 Southwest Canyon Road, Portland, Oregon

“Packy is a sad example of the challenges and degradation bull elephants face in captivity,” said Nicole Meyer, Director of IDA’s Elephant Protection Campaign. “Life at the Oregon Zoo has stripped Packy of the dignity he deserves. IDA urges the zoo to act in the best interests of this magnificent and intelligent individual, and retire Packy to a sanctuary where he can live his remaining years as nature intended—roaming the countryside on soft grass in a warmer climate.”

Packy’s life started off with notoriety, heralded as the first elephant born in decades in a North American zoo. His life soon turned from celebration to routine exploitation. The Oregon Zoo bred Packy relentlessly, even attempting to mate him with his own sisters. Deprived of adequate room to roam, Packy now suffers from chronic medical and psychological problems, exhibiting unnatural behavior that includes repeated head bobbing—an indication he’s in severe psychological distress.

The seven other elephants at the Oregon Zoo also spend their lives in tiny, barren paddocks and barn stalls. The zoo’s cramped and unnatural environment has led 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.

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.

For more information on the protest, contact: zoos@idausa.org

74 Responses to “IDA to Protest Oregon Zoo on Elephant’s Birthday”

  1. April 11, 2013 at 11:21 am, Courtney Scott said:

    Well said. As the zoo continues to spin its PR on how the elephants are “thriving”, this article tells the truth about life behind the happy marketing facade. It is critical that this truth is spread far and wide so that more and more of the public will demand that Packy and all elephants be released from their prisons into sanctuaries. And all breeding programs, especially the Oregon Zoo’s “world class breeding program” need to stop, so that no more elephants are born into this kind of deprivation and despair.