Following the announcement that the Bronx Zoo in New York faces severe funding cuts, actor Lily Tomlin sent a letter this week urging the zoo to send its three elephants – Happy, Patty and Maxine – to a spacious, natural-habitat sanctuary. In her letter, Tomlin cited the threatened budget crunch and unnatural conditions for elephants, including cramped exhibit space and frigid weather that forces them indoors throughout the winter, as reasons for the move. Elephants are the most expensive animals to maintain in a zoo, at an annual cost of up to $200,000 each, so sending Maxine, Patty and Happy to a sanctuary – at no cost to the zoo – would also help save precious resources.
The Bronx Zoo announced in 2006 that it would phase out its elephant program after the deaths of one or two elephants and instead steer funding directly into conserving elephants in Africa and Asia. Rather than wait until an elephant dies, the zoo should send Maxine, Patty and Happy to a sanctuary now, where they would have room to roam, a warmer climate, and the companionship of other Asian elephants.
The elephants – all captured in the wild – have spent more than 34 years on display at the Bronx Zoo.
1. Click here to send a message to the Bronx Zoo saying that Lily Tomlin is right! The elephants should be sent to a sanctuary now.
2. Send a letter to the editor of the New York Times, Newsday, NY Daily News, and NY Post, saying the Bronx Zoo should retire the elephants now.
Noted and signed. Thank you Betty.
already signed, thanks
Your message has been sent to the following decision makers:
- Dr. Steven Sanderson
Thank you Betty!