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Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Portland zoo vows elephant calf will stay put — even if they have to buy her
The future ownership of a baby elephant born at Portland's zoo last week remains under negotiation as top zoo officials promised Tuesday to keep the calf even if they have to buy her from a private traveling show.
By Michael J. Berens, Seattle Times staff reporter
from: seattletimes.com
December 4, 2012
MICHAEL DURHAM / AP
A newborn female Asian elephant calf is seen Friday in the elephant maternity ward with her mother, Rose-Tu, at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore.
The future ownership of a baby elephant born at Portland's zoo last week remains under negotiation as top zoo officials promised Tuesday to keep the calf even if they have to buy her from a private traveling show.
At a Monday news conference, Oregon Zoo Director Kim Smith confirmed a Seattle Times report that the newborn calf is owned by Have Trunk Will Travel, of Perris, Calif., which rents out pachyderms to the entertainment industry, stages circuslike events and offers elephant rides at $500 an hour.
"This calf is very important to us," Smith said. "She was never going to leave the zoo."
The private company loaned the zoo a male elephant, Tusko, for breeding. In return, Have Trunk Will Travel retained ownership of the second, fourth or sixth calves sired by Tusko, according to the contract obtained by The Times.
Last Friday, an Oregon Zoo Asian elephant, Rose-Tu, gave birth to her second calf sired by Tusko.
"I can assure you, there is no need for any petitions to keep Rose-Tu's baby with her family," Smith said. "This has been the intent all along, and our contract is representative of standard agreements within the zoo industry."
If the zoo ends up needing to purchase the unnamed female calf from Have Trunk Will Travel, Smith promised "public" dollars would not be used.
Have Trunk Will Travel co-owner Kari Johnson told The Times on Monday she had not decided whether the company would seek to move the elephant into their shows.
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