The Oregon Zoo is promising to keep its newest elephant after embarrassing revelations by The Seattle Times that the zoo had long ago traded away rights to Rose-Tu's newborn calf to a traveling elephant show.Officials held a press conference this morning to respond to the Times' story, which cites a 2005 contract between the zoo and Have Trunk Will Travel. In the agreement, the zoo agreed to breed Rose-Tu with one of the show's bulls, named Tusko.
Zoo officials pledge that the female calf, born Nov. 30, will stay here.
(See the press conference at the web page of WW's news partner, KATU.)
Deputy zoo director Chris Pfefferkorn tells WW that the zoo is negotiating with the elephant's owner, a California-based company.
"They support our vision of multi-generational, matriarchal herds," Pfefferkorn says. "So we're just going to continue with the negotiations."
The website for Have Trunk Will Travel, owned by Kari and Gary Johnson of Perris, Calif., shows it is willing to accommodate a swath of visions—from elephant rides at weddings to circuslike shows at private corporate events.
"Everyone loves a parade and elephants make it memorable," the site says. "Our elephants have participated in many parades. They are used to other animals, bands and floats."
The site features a photo gallery of Have Trunk Will Travel's elephants in action. The photos include the following: