Packy, the Oregon Zoo's iconic Asian elephant, turns 51 this Sunday. That's a milestone of middle age that could make anybody gloomy.
But Packy's blues may go deeper than that.
A vocal contingent has argued for years that Packy, the first elephant born in captivity in the modern era, is wildly unhappy. They cite his chronic foot problems and compulsive head-bobbing.
When it sought a $125 million bond in 2008, the zoo said that it would move Packy to a 240-acre reserve in Clackamas County. But it is now noncommittal about that plan.
As WW reported yesterday, activists from In Defense of Animals will protest Packy's birthday party on Sunday. Ten of those activists testified April 4 to the Metro Council, which manages the zoo.
One of those citizens, Syd Most of North Portland, told the council she has watched Packy appear "sadder and sadder and sadder" every year she visits the Oregon Zoo.
An animal psychic confirmed her worst fears.
"This is how far out I am, because I'm from California," Most said. "I hired a psychic to come and visit Packy, and she said he's so depressed—an animal communicator—she said he's so depressed that he can't even connect with us."
Other activists testifying Wednesday asked Metro to release all breeding records for the elephant Chendra, and to promise that controversial calf Lily "not be used just as a golden uterus."