Protest over elephants greets zoo's 150th birthday

    As the Philadelphia Zoo kicks off its 150th year, activists seeking improved conditions for the zoo’s two remaining elephants are speaking out. Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants will rally outside the zoo on Saturday as staff and guests celebrate the sesquicentennial of the nation’s oldest zoo.

    As the Philadelphia Zoo kicks off its 150th year, activists seeking improved conditions for the zoo’s two remaining elephants are speaking out. Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants will rally outside the zoo on Saturday as staff and guests celebrate the sesquicentennial of the nation’s oldest zoo.

    Transcript:
    The zoo plans to move its two African elephants, Kallie and Bette, to a sanctuary in central Pennsylvania.

    But Friends of Philly Zoo Elephants organizer Marianne Bessey says the facility doesn’t provide sufficient space and uses antiquated, painful controlling devices.

    Bessey: “The conditions there for the elephants are actually not going to be much different than what they have right here in Philadelphia in that they’ll still be controlled by bullhooks, and they’ll still spend most of their time in a cement barn.”

    Zoo officials say the 742-acre facility is appropriate for the two African elephants.  Persistent objection to the elephants’ cramped quarters led the zoo to find sanctuaries for their elephants in 2005. The zoo’s Asian elephant, Dulary, is now in a sanctuary in Tennessee.

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    [audio: reports20090320zoo.mp3]

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