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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Packy's 50 years -- of hell

Here's food for thought as the Portland zoo makes merry over the half century of its most famous resident.

Comments (35)

I've NEVER seen Packy chained or whipped! You sound like a PETA FREAK to me! Hell, it'd be dead long ago and hacked to death by poachers with machetes if she was still in Africa or wherever! The care they get at the zoo is much more humane than in the wild! IMHO!

Posted by: Pat Davison | April 14, 2012 at 12:44 AM

It's safe to say Packy has never had a really good day. The area they keep elephants in at the Oregon Zoo is pitifully small. Can we take up a collection to send him to retirement in Tennessee?

And here we could've all been benefiting from his ivory too!

Sorry, but in the back of mind when I go to the zoo, the thought crosses my mind that we keep these animals in captivity for entertainment value.

Re: "we keep these animals in captivity for entertainment value"


Actually, Metro keeps them in captivity for the revenue their captivity yields, periodically parading them to solicit monies for ameliorating renovations that are not made.

I dislike zoos, and for all the reasons that are obvious. Not a PETA nut, in fact I eat some great tasting animals now and then. Just don't agree with the long term caging and the long term suffering. These are the very saddest animals on the planet. Have not been in years, would never go again.

So what's happening with the elephant compound they wanted to build at the site of the now drained Roslynn Lake? Maybe they could capture some of the revenue generated by Packy's birthday celebration to give the guy some room to roam?

Well, that's one of the problems with blogs in this country - anybody can start one, and you don't have to be worried about little things like accuracy.

A few points to consider:

Portland Zoological Gardens was one of the first in the world to construct elephant facilities such that the animals did not have to be confined on chains.

The zoo was the first in the world to construct an hydraulic restraint chute for elephants; allowing veterinary care and routine nail trimming to be conducted without anesthesia. Widely ridiculed at the time as unworkable, elephant restraint chutes are now globally used.

The zoo's elephant care staff in years past have assisted in the design of facilities for elephants in Tacoma, California, New Jersey, and the sanctuary facility at Hohenwald Tennessee, to which styro above refers.

Another little-known fact regarding elephants: unlike humans, they don't jog. They don't go out and run for no reason; when they do run, we refer to it as a stampede. The problem, therefore, is not how much room they are given; rather, the salient issue involves finding ways to encourage them to use the space available. Absent that, you can give them acres of space, and all they'll do is hang next to the barn.

You see, that's one of the problems that many people have when considering elephants: they actually aren't very large people; they have very different priorities.

People, for example, almost never throw hay or dirt onto their heads and backs. Elephants do. People, of course, who pretend to know everything, explain it as a means of providing insulation. So why do they do it in a barn heated to 72 degrees?

Well, it's done to keep insects at bay. So why do they do it in the dead of winter, outdoors?

My guess is that they do it because they can't get the stuff to jump up there by itself.

Packy has been known to break through two inches of ice to go swimming in February. Where megaherbivores are involved, a prime concern is getting rid of excess heat - they have great mass and comparatively little surface area; thus, while you may think it insane to paddle around for 20 minutes in a pool in the middle of February, it may suit the elephant just fine.

One final note, as this comment is already far beyond my norm: the next time you enjoy a walk along the Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park, pause for a moment to give thanks to the elephants from Portland Zoological Gardens - for they hauled the trees out during construction of the trail.

Fifty years of hell? You don't know squat.

Chained, whipped, and probably suffering from PTSD. Now I understand why Packy supported Stahancyk's bid for mayor. He's so confused he doesn't know right from wrong anymore.

Thanks, Max for your comments. Also, it's so important to consider the life these animals face in their native habitats: it's getting worse and worse - poachers and "civilization" encroaching. I'm much more worried about the lives these animals live in Sri Lanka and Thailand than I am about the Oregon Zoo.

People bemoaning Packy's confinement ought to remember Keiko -- that is, if they can sufficiently set aside their sanctimonious moral vanity to do so.

For better or worse, right or wrong, the Oregon Zoo is what Packy knows. He was born there, he has lived his entire life there, he is virtually hand-fed, he has no knowledge of any other life for an elephant, and one seriously doubts he watches Animal Planet and pines for life on the savanna.

Sending long-term captive animals into the wild is a virtual death sentence, as we learned with the Keiko case. Yet we continue to hear from people who seem to have learned virtually nothing from that disturbing episode. As though if Packy were sent into the wild tomorrow he would immediately discard a half-century of behavioral conditioning. More likely, he would end up being the only elephant in the wild with its own staff of assistants.

Particularly pathetic are the people who worry about whether the elephant is "happy," as though the pachyderm in question is capable of rational thought and emotion, as opposed to instinctual reactions. One can't help but wonder if the people worrying about such things are not in fact projecting their own discontent and unhappiness onto an animal of which they know little or nothing objectively.

I would fully expect that if the elephants were given free rein, yet chose to remain within close proximity of the barn, a scenario to which reader Max alludes, Metro in its infinite authoritarian stupidity would trot out "experts" to get the elephants to move about more and thereby fulfill someone's misbegotten daydream of how elephants should behave. Even as the experts collect big taxpayer-funded fees and boast of their own indispensability.

Having said that, I find zoos to be abominations that may in their long-ago day have been useful for the study of animal biology and breeding habits but have long since deteriorated into mere revenue sources for money-grubbing government entities.

Happy Birthday Packy. Unlike Keiko, let us hope you are not eventually killed by misguided compassion.

Max and Jimbo- quite a bit of what they feel like doing, given the opportunity. They have individual personalities and preferences and are smart enough to exploit opportunity. The Elephant Sanctuary ( in Tennessee says their elephants walk from 3-15 miles a day, depending on individual preference. They are allowed to freely roam and make these decisions. Some come into the barn at night during cold weather, others don't always, others never do. Keeping them in a zoo serves none of the elephant's interests. They are exotic entertainment, period. As far as having no thought or emotion, only instinctual reaction, no one who has spent any time around elephants, or merely paid close attention to a couple of well-done documentary video pieces on them would ever make such an ignorant statement. Elephants have rich emotional lives, strong friendship and family bonds, and are capable of kindness and compassion. I don't understand keeping them in isolated, cramped conditions, and why anyone thinks that it is a good thing, and in the animal's best interest. To believe that it is requires much more projecting of one's own desires onto elephants than people who attribute intelligence and feelings to elephants, because that is the way the behavioral science points.

Styro, as I mentioned previously, Portland elephant care staff in years past assisted in the design of the elephant sanctuary to which you keep referring. Your line, I don't understand speaks volumes. You don't. You know nothing of the conditions and requirements, and it is very clear that you have never lived among them.

By the way, Carol Buckley's a nice enough lady, but don't swallow the sanctuary PR hook, line, and sinker (as apparently you have). It is really quite arrogant for you to refer to the statements of others here as "ignorant", when clearly that term applies only to you.

Question, oh great elephant expert: how many calves have been produced at the elephant sanctuary of which you're so fond? How many bulls do they house? Come on, you claim that we're ignorant, so trot out your stuff!

Question: how many calves have been produced at Portland?

Question: where was the elephant estrous cycle elucidated?

Question, where were the first studies of allomaternal caretaking behavior in elephants done, and who published them?

Question: where was elephant chemocommunication and infrasonic communication first studied and confirmed?

Question: what organization maintains the global genomic history for elephants?

Question: who built the first facilities capable of housing elephants without chains and in a herd environment?

You claim it's all about entertainment. I say that you're an ignorant jackass. Prove otherwise.

Here's a start: J. Chem Ecol 16(7) 2167-2181, 1990.

Go read it. You know what a library is?

So, elephants do not have individual proclivities, and will stand next to a barn all day. Are you standing by that? Seems wrong based on available evidence, but I guess the Oregon Zoo is the be-all end-all of elephant husbandry. Elephants must be bred for captivity and passed around for display. Breeding elephants in captivity is a moneymaker. Is there another rationale for breeding elephants here? How many elephants have been raised in North America to re-establish native populations? Is there some collapse in breeding behavior in wild populations? Genetic diversity may be a problem in fragmented wild environments, but that's precisely why money should be going to habitat conservation and economic programs to maintain viable populations. Asia and Africa are the proper places to breed and re-introduce elephants, if that is indeed necessary.

Whatever you think of Carol Buckley, the elephants she rescues are able to live out their lives on their own terms, which is valuable, to the elephants, if not the professional elephant breeding industry. As you know, they have only females there, and are not focused on breeding in the least. The value of breeding programs in North America is primarily to generate money making elephants. In my understanding the sanctuary is just that, not your preferred model.

Yes, I think it's stupid and arrogant to house seven elephants on 1.5 acres. Expansion to six acres is an improvement in the way that moving from a federal supermax to a state prison is an improvement. It's barbaric. If you think housing elephants in such conditions without chains is a great triumph, I feel sorry for you. It should be beyond the pale.

Yes, I maintain it's ignorant to describe elephants as creatures driven by instinct and incapable of rational thought. Do you really disagree? Who's advocating releasing captive bred elephants into the wild? No one that I know of.

From your hostile tone and gratuitous insults I'm guessing you have some kind of stake in Oregon Zoo's elephant breeding business. It embodies values that I think are fundamentally wrong. It's a public institution. In my opinion, it's operating under an outdated, cruel model that diminishes quality of life for the elephants, and perpetuates misunderstanding of what a civilized relationship between people and the natural world ought to look like. Reasonable people ought to be able to differ about the mission and what it's priorities ought to be.

Easy, Max,
It's not worth the cyber stress.

You clearly know a lot about this, so let me ask you how they're progressing with Zoo-genic Elephant Foot Disease? Apparently many elephants in zoos suffer from too much exposure to concrete floors and packed down dirt.

I hate to think of the poor dears having feet that really hurt because they're in zoos. It doesn't happen in the wild. Who knows? Maybe Packy went in the pond in February to take the weight off his legs. I read that one elephant named Pet was observed using her trunk to try and take weight off her front legs. They put her to sleep in 2006.

Here's a little blurb from the Internet:

Elephant expert Michael Schmidt, a former chief veterinarian at Oregon Zoo who specialized in the care of elephants for over 25 years, states in his book Jumbo Ghosts: The Dangerous Life of Elephants in the Zoo:

"Despite all of our exhaustive efforts to keep the elephants alive in the zoo in Portland, we lost four adult elephants to preventable zoo-genic foot disease while I was there." Schmidt adds, "Zoo-genic foot disease remains the number one source of pain, suffering and premature death for zoo elephants."

At least give Packy some customized NIKEs.

Max, I was writing mainly from memory, but there are a couple of qualified experts who seem to agree with me. I feel compelled to offer some citations after your nasty little screed. Ever heard of Michael Schmidt? He spent 25 years at the Oregon Zoo as a veterinarian. He is foursquare against the type of facilities and program you find so terrific.

"Today, such antiquated 19th Century style enclosures are not good enough. What
is needed is a new kind of zoo that is both large enough and has space inside it complex enough to fully meet the needs of its inhabitants. In my book (Jumbo Ghosts: the dangerous life of elephants in the zoo), I suggest that for elephants, this new kind of zoo should be about 1280 acres—or two square miles—in size, and be situated in a mild climate where the elephants can be outdoors most of the time."

What a jackass.

Joyce Pool has been studying elephants for a while. She discovered musth in elephants in 1979, and has a PhD in elephant behavior.

Speaking on the unfortunate Billy, a captive of the Los Angeles Zoo, who probably has a lot of things in common with Packy:

"In captivity, where elephants are overfed and have no opportunity to engage in activities that would release their enormous energy, males like Billy stay in musth for many months at a time,
thus compounding the frustration of confinement.

Captivity is, therefore, particularly gruesome for male elephants, as it is for Billy. He is, in essence, trapped in musth, which makes his level of frustration, despair and on occasion, rage,even more intolerable.

The planned exhibit at your zoo will allow some 3.8 acres of access for elephants. Billy’s portion
will amount to double the space he has now. But doubling, tripling or quadrupling Billy’s enclosure
will make little difference to his life. Billy’s plight is not only about space, but about what is possible within a given space. Billy needs a chance to search for his own food, to roam on soft
surfaces for hours, to interact with a range of companions, to make his own choices – and that is only possible in a space much larger than a city zoo can offer. He needs natural stimuli to keep fit a healthy mind anpd body, something not possible in either the current nor the proposed LA Zoo

Joan, you ignorant slut.

These people and many other qualified experts don't agree with you, the Oregon Zoo, and many others who are following an antiquated and wrongheaded approach to studying and caring for elephants. There's no reason to get all huffy about it.

That should be Joyce, you ignorant slut. How dare she.

Yes, styro - I'm very well acquainted with Dr. Michael J. Schmidt (who, by the way, never received a license to practice veterinary medicine in Oregon). I, and many others, consider him to be insane (though granted, we are not psychologists).

You speak of a man who presided over the slow murder of elephant after elephant, prescribing "thrice weekly" foot-trims, followed by immersion in caustic chemical solutions, as though he's some kind of elephant expert.

He is.

Many Portland elephants died as a result of his expertise. Dr. Murray Fowler, called in to examine Portland's management at the behest of elephant care staff at the time, chastised Dr. Schmidt for failure to adhere to basic veterinary standards.

Dr. Schmidt crippled Rama by insisting - against elephant staff recommendations at the time - that the animal remain in a "herd" environment. The animal was subsequently knocked into a moat, sustaining a leg injury that is evident to this day. Your "expert" apparently failed to take into consideration the fundamental fact that juvenile males are expelled from the herd.

The "good doctor" has self-published books because no reputable publisher will print them.

Yes, I consider him - and you - jackasses.

Dr. Schmidt abruptly left the Portland zoo in the dead of night - with good reason, as his reign of pain was drawing to a close, and even he could see the writing on the wall.

Dr. Schmidt was not the "Senior Research Veterinarian" - that is a title that he fabricated as a means of enhancing his credibility for people like you. For years, he was the ONLY vet at the zoo, though his business cards referred to him as "senior vet". Every bird that died at the zoo had a "brain injury", according to him. He did no basic veterinary evaluations, as noted by Dr. Fowler.

That's your "expert".

You actually believe everything you read on the internet, don't you? That's not merely sad - it's scary. You are incredibly, and pathetically ignorant.

Trail tip, sonny: Joyce Poole did not "discover musth in elephants".

You ever actually have any experience, or do you just suck off the internet tit?

An aside: talking with a friend about snoring elephants at a small get-together, a gentleman interrupted with apologies. He had overheard some of the conversation, and asked if I knew how long elephants actually slept.

I replied that I could only talk about the averages for those that I knew, but gave him the times and durations. It turned out that he had been experiencing some problems, because elephants that he'd radio-collared were supposedly registered as dead, but then they couldn't find them. They only did their work during the day, after all - going out at night was too dangerous.

Ah, well, what was the calibration? Two hours. So if they didn't move after two hours, they were registered as dead. I suggested that Ian Douglas-Hamilton, with whom I was speaking, consider recalibrating to at least five hours.

You may want to do a Bing or Google if you don't know his name.

Here's the deal, Sty - unlike you, I actually know quite a lot about elephants, and I didn't get it off the internet. I've lived with them for decades, and I actually know the people who've done the research. I've done a lot of the research, myself.

Quit being an idiot.

You don't know anything about elephants, and you never will. So get on with your life and quit trying to impress everybody with your innetube skilz.

Next up: Styro gives Jack Bogdanski lessons in tax law.

Bill McDonald: As I understand it, the Portland Zoo has moved to soft substrates (I believe it's sand) in an effort to eliminate hard surfaces. Personally, I think that's a bad idea.

Not that it isn't well-intentioned, it's just that elephants are designed to deal with varied environments - so I think that they should ideally have exposure to hills and dirt and sand and yes, even cement.

As for what doesn't happen in the wild: I have a photo around here somewhere of an elephant cow who lost most of her left foreleg after being caught in a snare. It's really impressive; let me know if you'd like a copy and I can dig it up for ya.

As noted above, Mikey Schmidt thinks he's some sort of elephant expert. Dr. Murray Fowler thought otherwise, following his assessment of Mikey's "techniques".

It is my opinion, based upon the facts, that the "doctor" was a butcher who should have been fired years before he left. Note: nothing in his writings refers to the death that he caused of the Asian elephant cow, "Susie". That had nothing to do with her feet; everything to do with his injections.

Okay, Max.
Look, I like going to the zoo. I have friends who work at the zoo. I've been present for the making of Packy's birthday cake.

And I also didn't just find out about this problem with the surfaces today, although I read more about it.

There's a lot of irony in your argument with Styrofoamcup. On the one hand you list all these good things the zoo has done with elephants, and seem incensed that anyone would criticize the zoo, then you turn around and say the zoo had an unlicensed veterinarian working there for many years - a crazy man who was murdering elephants. That's a mixed message.

In other words, if Styrofoamcup had been protesting the treatment of elephants at the zoo under this guy, you would be 100% in agreement. Ahh, never mind. I was mainly just jumping in because I was putting off my taxes.

What I'm curious about now is how you came to know so much about elephants. There's got to be a good story there.

Bill: You're right. The zoo had what was according to people I know and trust, a crazy man working there as an unaccredited vet and "elephant expert". That's why I tend not to trust self-appointed "experts".

Personally, I think he's a nutjob. That, however, does not negate the fact that despite this guy, the Portland Zoo has contributed immeasurably to the understanding of elephant communication and propagation.

I came to know about elephants because I lived among them for several decades. Cows, bulls, calves, the whole deal. Birth, life, death. Hey, you know what? There are exactly two things you can make an elephant do - run away, or kill you.

You can get them to do a lot of other stuff, but that's where psychology comes into play.

I spent several hours at the King's palace in Bangkok - talking with the head mahout and checking out the elephants - it was the first time I'd ever seen an elephant with bright blue eyes.

You know what? White elephants aren't white at all - they're just different. Like the blue-eyed girl - and the one that had four hairs growing where you expect to see one - she looked positively amazing - like a chia-pet.

The compound was beautiful yet dismal. Each animal had its own house, where it was chained. A canal allowed them fresh water. There is a pond which individual cows are permitted to visit, but no herd-bonding is allowed. Bulls are kept indoors and chained at all times.

And people bitch about the Portland Zoo.

I figured that in Europe, they'd be way ahead of Portland.

They actually were way behind. Man, was that ever a surprise. It was so bizarre to be sitting in a curator's office and having him ask whether I thought women might be able to take proper care of elephants, or not.

What? Damn, I know a lot of guys who can't do that. (Paging Doctor).

I would have thought it would be easy to find out some 1962 factoids about the zoo. I would have been wrong.

It would be interesting to see what admission prices, parking fees, snacks, trinkets, salaries of staff and tax support was in 1962 compared to today.

Likely it was far cheaper (even accounting for inflation) than today. A family (assuming there are any left) better count on spending over $ 100 today.

I can't do much to help you out, there, JD. But the original Portland Zoo was in Washington Park, and the original "elephant house" still stands just down from the rose test gardens, next to the kids' playground. There is a brick rendition of an elephant cow and calf inside.

I believe that the zoo moved to its present site (formerly a golf course) in 1959, and it remained a Portland Parks and Recreation venue for a number of years thereafter. If I recall correctly, Packy was born April 14 1962, and the Portland Zoo owned neither the sire nor the mother; they were owned by one Morgan Berry, who was kind of a colorful guy in his own right - I've heard that back in the day, he used to trade villagers a pig for an orangutan (young orangs were often kept chained under the house in villages, for eventual use as food).

I'm not entirely sure what the arrangement was at the time, but I believe that Berry accepted a small sum toward purchase of Packy and threw in the sire, the mother, and another cow because he didn't want the herd to be split up. I know a guy who knows the details, but haven't talked with him for a while. I should put that on my to-do list.

Anyway, Packy's birth was a huge deal, being that he was only the seventh elephant born in captivity in some 200 years, so LIFE magazine covered it, along with other major media.

As an aside: none of the previous captive-born elephants survived. Packy not only survived in that horrible Portland Zoo, he made history by successfully producing a number of calves as well.

Naturally, visitors flocked to bring their children to see the 270-pound bundle of joy; none had ever expected to see such a thing, let alone that their children might. They came in droves to marvel (or as our resident elephant expert, Styro might say, to be entertained by) what many regarded as a minor miracle.

It's worth noting that television, at the time, was black-and-white; two or three channels available, and nature shows were unavailable. Of course, it's simply ignorant to bring up little details like that.

Anyway, the zoo unsurprisingly set attendance records that wouldn't be matched for decades. I believe that cost of admission for adults was on the order of 50 cents, with children getting in free - but I'd have to check with a couple of other folks to firm that up, so it's just rather a hazy recollection of what I think I heard about the time. In any case, the zoo pulled in a boatload of money in admission and trinkets (this was a time when you could purchase a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and receive change back from your dollar).

Oh, and parking was free. I may be wrong on this, but I think the place charges for that now. Certainly, admission rates are generally steep (although you get a discount if you take light rail, and they also have reduced rates one Tuesday a month). As well, woe to those families who fail to pack a lunch: a family of four can easily lose another $40 on burgers and fries.

Attack the persons, the personalities, but no real defense of the crippling confinement of captive elephants, or the emptiness of breeding elephants for more of the same type of abuse.

Quit screaming about your expertise, Max, and enlighten us about the laudable end goals of breeding and selling, trading and swapping of gigantic animals adapted to roam widely living out their lives in varying degrees of abuse.

You still haven't provided any evidence for your bizarre statement that an elephant will passively hang out next to a barn when given freedom to roam. Maybe a whipped, spiritless, mentally ill elephant would, but from my excellent internet research on the matter, most normal, healthy elephants wouldn't. Citations, please, elephant man.

I'm sure you know a good deal about elephants, much more than I do. I don't need to be a criminal justice expert to know police brutality when I see it, and I don't need to be an elephant expert to know animal abuse when I see it.

How about a little more substance and a little less posing, Max?

And Max, I'm just curious about only being able to make an elephant run away, or kill you, and the rest is psychology. I thought circus folk still had pretty good luck with a bull hook. The Oregon Zoo has sold at least one elephant to Ringling Brothers, or am I showing my ignorance again?

Bull hooks were in common use for quite a while at the Oregon Zoo, weren't they? The Rose-Tu scandal was in 2000. So I'm just assuming in my jackass ignorance that Packy was clocked by bull hooks for most of his life. Did you ever take a dig at him with a bull hook? Elephants never forget, is that right? Do you have any fear of Packy, or are you good with dazzling him with psychology, and hoping he's getting forgetful in his old age?

And could you please, Max, comment on the accuracy of the following summary (I got it off the internet!)? I must confess my ignorance but an expert like you ought to be able to set the record straight.

Captive Breeding Record

Out of 26 captive births, 15 are dead. (2 of 9 surviving calves are in the Ringling Brothers circus).

The whereabouts of 2 calves is unknown.

Of the four breeding bulls, three are dead. Only Packy is still alive. Thonglaw and Hugo died prematurely at the Zoo and Tunga died prematurely at the Hawthorne Corporation, a circus training company that was forced to give up its elephants by US Department of Agriculture due to mistreatment.

Of the eight females who gave birth, half are dead. Pet, Hanako, Rose-Tu and Hanako are still alive. Pet and Rose-Tu remain at Oregon Zoo, Hanako is held at Pt. Defiance Zoo and Effie at Busch Gardens. Those who died are Rosy (43), Belle (45), Tuy Hoa (29), Me-Tuy (34).

Captive Born Elephants Sitll Living (9)
Packy b. 1962 Oregon Zoo
Hanako b. 1963 Point Defiance Zoo
Cora b. 1965 Ringling Bros. Circus
Khun Chom b. 1978 Dickerson Park Zoo
Sabu b. 1982 Ringling Bros. Circus
Sung Surin b. 1982 Oregon Zoo
Rama b. 1983 Oregon Zoo
Prince b. 1987 Ringling Bros. Circus
Rose Tu b. 1994 Oregon Zoo

Dead (Survived past infancy) (8)
Me Tu b. 1962/d. 1996 Age 34 Oregon Zoo
Dino b. 1963/d. 1977 Age 14 Spokane
Teak b. 1966/d. 1978 Age 12 Berry M. (private)
Tina b. 1970/d. 2004 Age 34 The Elephant Sanctuary (sent by Vancouver Zoo; already suffering from terrible foot problems)
McClane b. 1972/d.1983 Age 11 Circus Vargas
Stoney b. 1972/d.1983 Age 22 Bartow
Emma b. 1973/d. 1986 Age 13 Busch Tampa
Thongtrii b. 1979/d. 1993 Age 14 Fresno (zoo)

DEAD: (Calves that did not survive more than 2 months) (7)
Droopy b. 9/29/68, d. 10/4/68 Oregon Zoo
Unnamed b. 3/25/70, d. 3/25/70 Oregon Zoo
Unnamed b. 8/4/73, d. 8/7/73 Oregon Zoo
Unnamed b. 2/7/76, d. 3/5/76 Oregon Zoo
Sumek b. 3/15/78, d. 4/29/78 Oregon Zoo
Unnamed b. 10/6/91, d. 10/7/91 Oregon Zoo
Unnamed b. 8/31/94, d. 8/31/94 Oregon Zoo

A really sad history, apparently, but I'm sure it must be wrong because the Oregon Zoo is just super, and all about elephant welfare. Please set the record straight.

Everyone should get in on the fun of trained elephants. Once the Oregon Zoo provides expertise and animals, the lucky elephants are treated to a glamorous life as entertainers (I mean miracles of nature, not entertainers. It's not about entertainment).

Now that's psychology!

No, sty - go back and re-read: I was "screaming" about your expertise:

First, you go on the attack, then when you get push-back, you point your little finger and holler "Attack the persons, the personalities,"! Go back and re-read your very own statement sty - wherein you referred to other commenters here who disagreed with you as "ignorant".

In other words, you started things off by ad-hominem attack, then cried when you got push-back for it.

You seem to believe, given your vast expertise, that providing a link to animal "rights" websites somehow provides credible support for your claims. They don't. And yet you continue:

You still haven't provided any evidence for your bizarre statement that an elephant will passively hang out next to a barn when given freedom to roam. Maybe a whipped, spiritless, mentally ill elephant would, but from my excellent internet research on the matter, most normal, healthy elephants wouldn't.

Ready to point your pudgy little finger and assert with quivering lip that you're the one being attacked, are you again?

Poor baby. You bring it on, then you whine and cry when you get it back.

The only person making any bizarre statements here is you, an obvious animal "rights" nutjob with no actual animal experience of any sort - you refer to your "internet research" as "excellent", when in fact it's nothing but garbage - you just can't be bothered to get off your lardy butt and actually visit that place where they keep books and field studies and stuff - even when you're given a citation to help you along.

No, that's too much work; besides, a keyboard virtuoso such as yourself really shouldn't be expected to do any work, or even be particularly knowledgeable. You just puke out the same old propaganda about whips and chains because you want to believe it.

Time after time in Europe, I saw four and six-acre paddocks thick with grass - and unchained elephants hanging about close to the barn. That, of course, doesn't fit with the narrative you want to promulgate. If you truly believe that all of those elephants were somehow beaten into submission and therefore terrified of moving away from the barn, you are completely disconnected from reality.

Maybe you should take a break from the keyboard, exit your Mom's basement, and go for a walk. You could even stop by a local store and pick up a fresh bag of Cheetos. It'd do you good, really.

The Oregon Zoo has sold at least one elephant to Ringling Brothers, or am I showing my ignorance again?

Actually, sty, you are. The bull elephant, "Hugo" was obtained from RBB&B in exchange, according to my information, for the first calf sired by him - if any.

As is often the case with animal "rights" nuts, you apparently fail to understand that an ankus is merely a tool, and as is the case with any tool, there is potential for misuse. Use your superior internet skills to look up nail-gun injuries, for example.

Now, Packy - at over ten feet tall and weighing between 11,000 pounds and 14,000 (depending on whether or not he's undergoing musth) isn't exactly an animal that you so blithely refer to as being "clocked" with much of anything. In point of fact, I have never heard of such an event. Nor have you - as it simply doesn't occur.

So I'm just assuming in my jackass ignorance that Packy was clocked by bull hooks for most of his life. Did you ever take a dig at him with a bull hook? Elephants never forget, is that right? Do you have any fear of Packy, or are you good with dazzling him with psychology, and hoping he's getting forgetful in his old age?

Actually, sty - yes, you are once again parading your tremendously well-developed jackassery. You assume, because that's what you wish to believe. You're desperate to believe it.

And no, I don't work with Packy. Once again, you brag about your excellent internet skills, yet demonstrate instead your profound ignorance and your penchant for swallowing propaganda as God's Honest Truth.

As Bill McDonald correctly noted above:

It's not worth the cyber stress.

Though actually, it is you who simply aren't worth the electrons. So, run along now, and go suck down some more propaganda from your animal "rights" buddies.

Styro: elephants are animals. They are not people. However much you may wish, dream, and yearn for them to have feelings just like yours, they don't.

I was raised on a cattle ranch and I'm a life long hunter and fisherman. I'm no PETA/HS member. However, on this count, I'm in complete agreement with Styro. I'm saddened by zoos. I hear there's some merit in the captive breeding programs, but I have difficulty believing the same ends could not be better achieved in environments that provide more space/respect for the animals, and less entertainment for the suburbanites. Animals are not people, but they're not rocks either.

I do not consider the fact that we've kept Packy alive for fifty years despite his captivity to be an accomplishment worth bragging about.

1. Pointing out that something is based in ignorance is not ad hominem.

2. You still haven't said whether you agree or not that elephants are capable of more than instinctual responses.

3. You still haven't given a justification for promotion of elephant breeding solely for the purpose of producing more captive elephants in North America to supply circuses, zoos, and other elephant display facilities. I maintain that this business is no more exalted than breeding show dogs, and of no help to wild populations in Africa and Asia. I'd be happy to hear of a legitimate purpose for the program.

4. "Time after time in Europe, I saw four and six-acre paddocks thick with grass - and unchained elephants hanging out close to the barn." If you personally observed a self selected set of captive elephants in Europe (where they are "way behind," and misogynistic, according to you) hanging out by a barn instead of roaming around during the unspecified length of time you observed them, whatever their unspecified history might be, well, that settles it. Shut mah mouth! You ought to submit that for peer review. It seems a radical breakthrough, and directly contradictory to what Carol Buckley reports on the elephants under her care.

5. What's the real relationship between the Oregon Zoo's breeding program and Ringling, other circuses and other venues that make elephants do tricks? I know in Michael Keele's sworn testimony that he expressed great admiration for Ringling's breeding programs and was a witness defending their use of bull hooks (or the ankus, if that makes you feel better).

6. "Now, Packy - at over ten feet tall and weighing between 11,000 pounds and 14,000 (depending on whether or not he's undergoing musth) isn't exactly an animal that you so blithely refer to as being "clocked" with much of anything. In point of fact, I have never heard of such an event. Nor have you - as it simply doesn't occur." So, then, all of the abuse was reserved for Rose-Tu and the others? She was so badly abused that Oregon's animal welfare laws were changed. Glad Packy has dodged the bullet over the past 50 years. That's what you mean, I guess, that abuse of Packy doesn't occur. because it certainly did with Rose-Tu and scores of other captive elephants.

7. The ankus is merely a tool- that has been routinely used to abuse elephants. It is designed to inflict pain, and is used that way. Ankus, nailgun, socket wrench, shotgun, air compressor, stiletto, computer, they're all basically the same. By the way, I had no idea you were using nailguns on the elephants. I'm pretty sure that's not cool, and is probably illegal-depending how you're using it of course.

8. The journal with the article on chemosensory response in elephants from 1990 is available on local newsstands and Multnomah County library, isn't it? I'm not sure how that study relates to keeping elephants confined in ludicrously small areas and other abuses causing them to average tragically short lifespans.

9. Please respond to the link showing how baby elephants are 'trained' at Ringling. You may disparage the site as run by animal rights 'nuts,' but the pictures show what they show. To me it looks like pretty horrific abuse. Infliction of pain is apparent. Who am I supposed to believe, you, and your claimed expertise, or my lying eyes? Can you tell me why what they are doing there with the bullhooks and shock prods while the elephant is laying on the ground is good, humane practice?

10. I really do feel sorry for you. Your perspective seems as cramped as a zoo elephant's range. The Oregon Zoo is like a cattle feedlot for elephants. Science has been done there, but mainly (with the exception of the subsonic stuff) it is oriented toward keeping money making elephants coming. I don't imagine elephants are anything like me, just creatures who deserve to be treated with the respect and dignity that any conscious being deserves. At the very least, they are capable of fairly complex problem solving, and form very complex social groupings. Their natural ranges are quite large, and you really should give some thought as to whether a big enough environment can be built that would also facilitate their display. This really is a Victorian era animal show that is not about helping elephants. We are taxing and bonding ourselves to pay for it. The public has a legitimate place in the debate.

And, TacoDave, anyone who has spent any time working with horses or dogs knows they do have feelings, much like humans do. I can only speak to horses and dogs, but I suspect elephants are similar.

I'm all for eating meat (i.e., reducing animals to our needs), but IMHO this would be a better world if people understood the gravity of their decisions.

Cary: You're just another animal "rights" nutjob. It'd be amusing if you all had some original material. But you don't. All you offer is ignorance, accusations, and regurgitated propaganda.

1. Pointing out that something is based in ignorance is not ad hominem

Actually, when the person making the accusation of commenters is himself ignorant, yes, it is.

I really do feel sorry for you.

And I'd feel the same toward you were you not motivated by emotion, propaganda, and ignorance.

I maintain that this business is no more exalted than breeding show dogs, and of no help to wild populations in Africa and Asia.

By all means, tell me what you know about conditions on the ground in Africa and Asia.

I'm sure that you're aware that the last known Asian elephant in Viet Nam was killed there last week. I'm fascinated by your incredible level of expertise and depth of knowledge of the subject. Do tell more!

Shut mah mouth!

Thus far, that's the best idea I've seen from you. I realize that you have difficulty reading for comprehension, but these were not stated to be "self selected" observations. You simply believe, because it's a religion with you, and no facts are going to get in the way of your belief system.

It's amusing, in a sense, but also really telling that you religionists always insist that anybody who disagrees with your deeply held views MUST RESPOND to your incessant baloney. We MUST PROVIDE hyperlinks or other stuff to "satisfy" you. Bull.

You don't respond to fact after fact after fact - you just keep puking up the same stuff, making the same old allegations, "demanding" this, "demanding" that. I can give you fact after fact - and have. But as the old saying goes, "I buy you books and buy you books, and all you do is eat the covers".

Thanks, but that's the end of this comment thread for Max and styro.


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

The Occasional Book

Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 113
At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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