Yesterday afternoon, Metro officials unanimously approved buying a 240-acre dry lake bed for the Oregon Zoo to use as an off-site elephant reserve.
But at least one member of Metro council has voiced reservations about the zoo using the land for breeding a second herd of elephants.
The land purchase was rubber-stamped over the objections of animal-rights activists, who were alarmed by last week's WW report that the zoo no longer plans to move its current elephants to the reserve, as discussed when voters passed a $125 million bond measure.
Instead, zoo documents show it plans to intensify its breeding program and more than double its elephant population—from eight to as many as 19—with the new elephants kept at the reserve.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Metro councilor Carl Hosticka backed away from that plan before voting to buy the land:
"I just want to say that I think people have raised some legitimate concerns, but the measure we have before us today is to acquire the property. And so, I think thatâs a step we need to take. After we acquire the property, and in the process, we need engage in much more discussion about the use of that property - but thatâs not the issue weâre voting on today."
Listen to the OPB report here.