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February 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Baby elephant to remain at Oregon Zoo

Portland is not an elephant’s natural habitat

My attention was grabbed by a statement in Around the Northwest Saturday [“Baby elephant to stay at zoo,” Feb. 9]. It detailed the latest developments concerning the resolution of the dispute between an Oregon zoo and a traveling elephant show, both of which claimed jurisdiction over a baby elephant’s living arrangements. Upon learning that her zoo would be in charge of housing and caring for Lily in the future, director Kim Smith pointed out that she “will live her life with the family herd, the way elephants should.”

It occurred to me to question, if their elephant is living like she “should,” why the heck will this wild creature be spending her days confined within an artificial structure in Portland, Ore. Isn’t this a far cry from what is considered to be an elephant’s natural habitat?

Of course, one must keep in mind all the valuable knowledge that comes from the research that zoos customarily conduct. And the profit that they enjoy due to the fact that people love to see elephants up close and eagerly pay for the privilege? That’s just a side issue.

--Tom Likai, Shoreline

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