Tina in the MediaBeloved Tina Remembered
Langley Advance, July 28, 2004 Elephant companions mourn passing of Tina
Seattle-Post-Intelligencer Reporter, July 27, 2004 Community mourns Tina
The Province, July 25, 2004 Tina the elephant dies at 34. Ailing Asian elephant Tina received care for nearly a year at a Tennessee sanctuary, but died Wednesday.
Press Release, July 23, 2004 Tina passes away
Press Release, July 23, 2004 Tina doing well in Tennessee
Stephanie Fast, Langley Times Reporter Donation for elephant exhibit still remains unexplained
Stephanie Fast, Langley Times Reporter A happy homecoming for Tina
Animal Wellness Magazine Tina misfed, says Elephant Sanctuary
John Colebourn, The Province
Wednesday, August 13, 2003 Global TV's Samantha Shatzky follows Tina the elephant to her new home in Tennessee
August 13, 2003 Scott Blais of the Elephant Sanctuary was on hand to welcome Tina.
CREDIT: BCTV News on Global
August 12, 2003 Tina the elephant meets new family during first day in Tennessee
By COLIN FLY
Associated Press Writer
August 12, 2003 On the eve of Tina's arrival in the Tennessee sanctuary, she's eating like ... an elephant
Samantha Shatzky Special to The Sun
August 11, 2003 Tina's on her way home
John MacKie, Vancouver Sun
August 9, 2003
Elephant bound for new home in Tennessee
Kent Spencer,The Province
August 8, 2003 Tina the elephant hits the road
Susan Danard reports for CBC TV
August 8, 2003 Who's Who: Tina the Elephant
July 24, 2003 Tina's tribulations bring the promise of a better zoo
Dr. Bruce Burton Vancouver Sun
Wednesday, July 23, 2003 Carol has a mammoth love for her elephant pals; And thanks to her Web camera, you can see just why
The Hamilton Spectator
News, Tuesday, June 24, 2003 VHS helps win battle to save elephant from zoo
Vancouver Humane Society Vancouver elephant's move to US on hold
Sunday, June 15, 2003 Tina's Trip Postponed
Friday, June 13, 2003 Zoo starts permit process to send Tina to Tennessee
Thursday, June 5, 2003 Tina's trip must start before end of June.
July, August might get too hot for elephant's semi-trailer ride to her new home in U.S.
Nicholas Read Vancouver Sun
Tuesday, June 03, 2003 Tina the Elephant
By ROD MICKLEBURGH
From Saturday's Globe and Mail (May 31, 2003) Vancouver Tina is Coming to the Sanctuary!
Sore-footed Canada elephant Tennessee-bound
By Associated Press
June 1, 2003
A Creative Welcome Card from a Tina Admirer Tina bound for Tennessee
Wildlife: Ailing Asian elephant will have a new home in sanctuary
Glenn Bohn Vancouver sun
Saturday, May 31, 2003 Ailing B.C. elephant moves to Tennessee
By TIFFANY CRAWFORD
Fri, May 30, 2003
Bowmanville says no, but Tennessee yes
Ontario zoo director withdraws shelter offer after 'lies' told
Nicholas Read Vancouver Sun
Friday, May 30, 2003 Zoo backtracks after outcry over ailing Tina's fate
Elephant won't be sent to Ontario if concerns about treatment are valid: manager
Nicholas Read Vancouver Sun
Thursday, May 29, 2003 Zoo 'irresponsible' in elephant move
Wednesday, May 28, 2003 Tina's transfer to Ontario irks supporters
Tennessee facility offers better treatment for ailing elephant, animal activists contend
May 28, 2003 Zoo officials to decide today where to send sick elephant
May 27, 2003 Jamie Dorgan, a representative from the Greater Vancouver Zoo, Aldergrove, BC, Canada, contacted the Elephant Sanctuary to inquire about the organization's acquisition policy.
May 25, 2003 A Northwest woman is on a mission to move Tina the elephant from the Greater Vancouver zoo to a sanctuary, before it's too late.
May 25, 2003 Welcome mat out for Tina as Vancouver Zoo ponders future
Tennessee Sanctuary ready to accept elephant with chronic foot problems
Nicholas Read Vancouver Sun
Saturday, May 24, 2003 Zoo seeks new home for Tina
Aldergrove centre hunts for sanctuary able to house Tina, an ailing 33-year-old pachyderm
Monday, May 19, 2003
Life is Tennessee is treating Tina well.According to her online diary, she is responding well to treatments and her feet are being kept pain-free.
Though Tina has the freedom to wander outdoors, she has chosen to stay inside for now, allowing her feet to recover. If she were to be outside more often, the tender pads of her feet may be scraped, re-opening the wounds, explains her diary.
Tina is kept entertained by the variety of toys her supporters send for her, and has been spending more time with her new family.
Her barn is shared with six other female elephants and they greet each other with squeaks, chirps, trumpets and rumbles in schoolgirl-like fashion.
Tina's endowment fund is at just over $12,000, but much more is needed to reach the elephant sanctuary's goal of $185,000.
To follow Tina's progress more closely and to see new photos of her, as well as donate money to her endowment fund, visit www.elephants.com.
A hefty donation from a group of Saturn car dealers and owners, to build an exhibit for Tina the elephant while she was still at the Greater Vancouver Zoo was never used for that purpose, donors say.In September 2000, at a customer appreciation event involving Springman's Saturn and Isuzu, Morrey Saturn and Lansdowne Saturn, a cheque in the amount of $12,900 was made payable to the zoo.
It was specifically for the Elephant Exhibit Development Fund, which the group was told had been started in 1998. Their donation was to be the first significant step in launching the fundraising efforts on a large scale.
The total cost of the exhibit was estimated at $1 million.
An additional $3,242 was raised by Saturn customers and given to the zoo.
But that elephant exhibit was never completed, and the promised sign thanking the Saturn dealers and customers for the donation was never made.
After Dan Springman, owner of the Saturn Isuzu dealership on the Langley Bypass, read a letter to the editor urging readers not to forget about Tina (The Times, Nov. 5), who was transferred to a habitat in Tennessee this past summer, he again wondered what the donated money had been used for.
Springman is upset that Tina never benefited from the funds, and is demanding that the zoo return the money, so that it can be sent to Tina in Tennessee.
" If it's (the money) sitting somewhere, they darn well should give it back to us so we can give it to Tina," said Springman.
When the dealership questioned the zoo regarding the whereabouts of the money last year, they were told that no contract had been signed between Springman and the zoo, and that the donation was not for any specific project.
But the giant cheque, which is still sitting in the dealership office, is clearly made out to "Tina and Tumpe," and reads, "Donation to the elephant habitat at Vancouver Zoo." The amount of $12,900 is printed right on it, said Springman.
No attempts have been made by the dealership this year to contact the zoo, however, they have not received a definite answer about how the money was spent either.
Phone calls made to the zoo by The Times were not returned.
Dan Springman of Springman Saturn Isuzu shows the giant cheque made out for an elephant exhibit at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Three Saturn dealerships and their customers put in funds for the centre, which was never built. The Greater Vancouver Zoo has not told Springman what happened to the money.
Tina the elephant was fed the wrong food at her home in Aldergrove and her feet were looked after incorrectly, her new handler in Tennessee said yesterday.
"She's doing really excellent and has made friends with one of the other elephants and is sharing the barn with Tarra," said Carol Buckley of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, 100 kilometres southwest of Nashville.
But Buckley said Tina has abnormal swelling in her face, primarily from an improper diet, and it is causing her eyelashes to grow in and scratch her eyes.Buckley said Tina was probably getting too much produce, such as fruits and vegetables, at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove where she lived for most of her life.
"I have no doubt they were feeding her the way they were told," said Buckley.
"She wasn't eating enough hay. She was eating 60 pounds of produce a day and we will wean her down to 20 pounds.
"The produce, it's sweet and if you fill them up with produce and grain then they will not eat much hay.
"The keepers love her so much they give out the goodies.
Tina, at 4,100 kilograms, has long suffered from foot problems and her feet will be X-rayed to see the extent of ligament damage.
"Her feet were not neglected," said Buckley. "It's that they were taught to treat the feet wrong. "Because of the improper trimming of her feet, it has caused her to not walk flat."
Buckley said Tina was "adored and loved" at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
"I have no criticism," Buckley said. "She's got a great attitude, she's healthy and in six months we will have addressed all her health issues."
The 33-year-old Asian elephant made the four-day, 3,500-km journey from Vancouver by truck and arrived Monday.
Jamie Dorgan, the Greater Vancouver Zoo's animal care manager, said an expert trimmed Tina's feet. "I don't think they were done incorrectly," he said.
As for the diet, Dorgan said: "Most of our diet advice came from other elephant people."
It's as if they've been best friends for life—Tarra and Tina just seem to fit.Tina arrived at The Elephant Sanctuary here Monday, and within hours, Tarra, a 29-year-old Asian elephant and self-assigned goodwill ambassador, was in the barn, wanting to meet her. At first, both were cautious, but in no time at all, Tarra was picking straw off Tina's back, sharing her hay, and gently leading her around the barn. The two slept in neighbouring stalls. It was monumental progress.
But Tina wasn't quite ready to take the next step -- venturing outside the barn to explore. Two elephants at the sanctuary took almost a month to feel secure enough to leave the barn. Sanctuary staff couldn't guess how long Tina would take.
And then all of a sudden, Tuesday morning, she decided to follow a sunbeam and go. Staff thought she'd turn back, spooked by the foreign scenery.
But instead she kept going -- taking strong, confident steps. Not once did her head fall into the neurotic bobbing that has plagued her for years.
Instead, she kept a steady eye on Tarra grazing in some tall grass.
"She'll probably start grazing right away, and become an elephant again," said Scott Blais, co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary.
But what was amazing, was that of all the things that may have scared her, the arduous cross-continent journey, the new sights and smells she's encountered in Tennessee, Tina was bothered most by a butterfly.
She swatted at it with her trunk, pursing her big elephant lips in defiant disapproval.
But butterflies are something Tina's going to have to get used to. They're everywhere on this 325-hectare (800-acre) chunk of pristine Tennessee wilderness. As are birds, five dogs, 11 cats, 100 species of indigenous trees and nine different grasses.
Carol Buckley, the other co-founder of the sanctuary. is now an ardent animal rights activist. But she got the idea of opening the sanctuary while she was working in circuses.
"I don't regret a day of my past," she says, "because I learned from it."
Buckley bought a baby elephant when she was just 20. The elephant was sitting at a car dealership, as a gimmick to sell more cars. Buckley thought that was no way for an elephant to live, chained up and gawked at, so she begged the owner to sell the little female to her. But once she had an elephant, she needed to do something with it. So they ran away and joined the circus. For 13 years they toured the country, performing in new cities day after day until both became so disillusioned they could take it no more.
So they started offering elephant rides at the zoo. But that wasn't very good either.
And then Buckley had the idea of a sanctuary. Buckley and Blais searched the world for the perfect location. And when they found it after years searching, Tarra, Buckley's own elephant, became the first resident.
Now, counting Tina, there are eight Asian females. In the fall, the couple will open a separate sanctuary for African elephants.
"Right now I see this space holding 100 elephants ... if we can help 100 elephants, I will die a happy person," Buckley says.
The sanctuary is supported solely by private donations.
The banner outside the Elephant Sanctuary says it all. "Welcome Home Tina."
She truly is "home."Despite her 33 years of life in two different zoos, 32 years of them near Vancouver, Tina has never been home before. Home is where the hills are lush and rolling. Where the grass is soft under her chronically infected feet. Where the air is moist and warm and an endless expanse of land tempts her to explore.
"She's finally home," says Scott Blais, the co-founder of the elephant sanctuary, wiping away tears. "And she's going to be home for the rest of her life."
After a four day cross-continental 4,800-km trek, Tina arrived at the sanctuary Monday afternoon but no one knew what would happen when she arrived. Other elephants -- some abused -- who have come to the sanctuary have been too traumatized to leave the truck, staying there for hours or days.
Tina's crew was optimistic.
"She's come so far in the past four days. I think she'll be ready," said Blais.
As Tina's truck backed into the barn, a crowd gathered to watch, including crews from three TV news stations. The Elephant Sanctuary, it seems, is a Tennessee institution and the arrival of an elephant all the way from Canada is newsworthy.
Because she had to back out, Tina started by gingerly placing her toes out to touch the ground. She tried a few times, doing a shuffling dance, as if she didn't trust what might happen. Her dance went on for almost an hour as Blais and the other caretakers offered encouragement and treats.
Finally, she took the plunge, backing out with confidence. When all four feet were firmly planted, she let out a happy trumpet.
Staff members at the sanctuary say Tina was braver than most because she knew where she was. On the long drive, they told here where she was going and what to expect. They say she, like all elephants, has the comprehension of an average 10- to 12-year-old child and that her ancient wisdom runs much deeper.
She looked happy. That once she knew the ground was solid, she was unafraid and the neurotic head bobbing that has plagued her for years, a manifestation of her boredom and loneliness, has completely disappeared.
Tina had to leave the Vancouver zoo because she was suffering from foot problems, loneliness and at least one bout of obesity. Tina is now being allowed to explore the barn and become accustomed to the smells of the other elephants she has not yet met. When she is ready, she will start to meet them.
Tarra is the greeter girl. It's her habit to be the first to approach a new arrival. Staff say she's been acting impatient for the past couple of days, looking around the barn as if to ask when Tina was scheduled to arrive.They say elephants can sense each other's presence and can communicate over great distances. If so, Tina knows there are seven other female Asian elephants dying to meet her and tempt her out to play in the hot Tennessee sun.
Samantha Shatsky is a Global TV reporter who has followed Tina on her journey to Tennessee.
Tina, a 33-year-old ailing Asian elephant who moved to Tennessee from the Greater Vancouver Zoo in British Columbia, is busy getting to know new friends and starring on The Elephant Sanctuary's Web cam."She's quickly moving toward the challenge of meeting new elephants," co-founder Carol Buckley said Tuesday in a telephone interview from the sanctuary in Hohenwald, about 60 miles southwest of Nashville. "Winkie was really curious and has come up to Tina, but they only approach her one at a time."
Buckley said Tina has been "a little nervous" in her new home, but the six other elephants in the sanctuary are helping ease her transition."Right now, she's interacting with Tarra on Elecam," Buckley said.
The keepers have had a chance to examine their newest resident and found three health problems for the 9,000-pound elephant, Buckley said.
Tina, who has long suffered from foot problems, will have X-rays taken by Wednesday to see the extent of ligament damage in her feet.
Buckley also said Tina has abnormal swelling in her face, primarily from an inadequate diet that's causing her eyelashes to grow in and scratch her eyes."It's a chronic situation she's had," Buckley said. "We'll change her diet to address her nutritional needs."
The elephant and officials from the private, nonprofit sanctuary made the 2,170-mile journey by truck from Vancouver, arriving Monday after four days of travel.
"We had to drive through the night on the final night because we had some truck problems," said Scott Blais, co-founder of the sanctuary.
Blais said he only had two hours of sleep each night and that the truck had problems with the refrigeration unit used to cool Tina.
But Blais and Buckley said the trip was well worth the trouble.
"She's such a doll, she's got this personality that's wonderful," Buckley said.
She has the feeding habits of Henry the Eighth. She slurps her drink like a petulant four year old and more cereal ends up on her body than in her mouth. But Scott Blais is thrilled.
"I can't tell you how happy it makes me," says the co-founder of the Elephant Sanctuary, Tina's new home in Tennessee. "The fact that she's eating so much and playing with her food is a great sign."
We're at a roadside rest-stop somewhere in northern Nebraska, where the temperatures reach 35 degrees Celsius by noon. Blais is bustling around, mucking out Tina's pen, filling up her water bucket and feeding her grapes. Blais says many other elephants who have made the stressful cross-country journey to the sanctuary are too traumatized to eat or drink, and some have even gone the entire distance without consuming a thing.
"She seems to be settling in really well ..."
This is Day 3 of Tina's great transcontinental adventure, a gruelling drive of almost 5000 kilometres from the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, through nine states and eventually to Hohenwald, Tenn.
Because Tina can't be let out of her travelling truck due to the obvious challenges of getting her back in, the crew wants to get her there as quickly as possible, aiming to do the distance in just 3 1/2 days.
Global News cameraman Paul Rowand and I are making the journey with Tina and her entourage, but so far we've had very little time to shoot any pictures of the trip as most of our time is consumed with driving -- up to 20 hours a day.
Tina's truck is driven by two volunteers, seasoned truckers who have donated their time. This is the third elephant Mike Knowles has transported to Tennessee.
"I didn't believe it when my boss told me what I'd be hauling the first time."
Now he's a seasoned elephant expert, although he's never driven an animal this far before. There's also another driver, who's chauffeuring Tina's two caretakers. Marcella Smith lives in Kansas City, Okla., and has been a long-time fan of the Elephant Sanctuary. And when this exuberant, chatty vegetarian saw on the sanctuary's Web site that they were looking for another volunteer driver, she thought "I can do that! I can be the cab!"
So she's driving her own vehicle, a brand new SUV, and paying for all her gas and expenses.
"I'll be talking about this trip when I'm in the nursing home," she says with a giggle.
The focus of the trip is to ensure Tina is comfortable, safe and as healthy as can be. Because her foot infection has been acting up due to the constant pressure of her standing in her pen, Blais has been rinsing her feet with a special apple-cider vinegar bath, which soothes the pain. He even crawls in the truck and sleeps with her when we all finally grab a couple of hours rest.
"The first night she slept about half an hour on, half an hour off ... but last night she slept a couple of hours."And she was expected to arrive at the sanctuary sometime this afternoon. The sanctuary is a refuge in the truest sense of the word, meaning the public is not allowed to visit. Tina will be the seventh Asian female elephant to move into the sanctuary.
And we will be there when she takes her first tentative steps towards her new life.
Samantha Shatzky is a Global TV reporter following Tina on her journey to Tennessee.
I would like to thank The Vancouver Sun, reporters Nicholas Read and Glenn Bohn, members of the Vancouver Humane Society, Zoocheck and local television and radio broadcasters for raising the issue of Tina, the elephant, and for mobilizing such strong support for moving her to Carol Buckley's Elephant Sanctuary near Hohenwald, Tenn.
Tina is truly a special friend to all who have worked with her, and her leaving will be a bittersweet occasion for all of us. Although I am not an employee of the zoo, I am the current, contracted veterinarian.
A special celebration to say goodbye to Tina will be held at the Greater Vancouver Zoo Saturday [July 26, 2003 / 9:30 am to 4:00 pm ]. I strongly urge anyone who has not had the pleasure of seeing a live elephant up close to plan a short visit to say goodbye to probably the most kind and gentle elephant in North America.Tina is tentatively scheduled to leave the first week in August. The delay is the result of the necessarily slow process of confirming that she is free of tuberculosis.
It is important to realize most captive elephants have problems with their feet, caused in part by inadequate enclosures.
Tina has had the additional burden of having a mild birth defect in her front feet, which made her problems worse. The keeper staff and several veterinarians (myself included) have tried to treat her. Unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful.A final decision on what to do with Tina was delayed partly because it was necessary to thoroughly search for the best possible place to send her, and partly because there was a difference of opinion between the principle decision-makers at the zoo as to where the best place would be.
Paradoxically, this impasse contributed to Dukwon Park, one of the owners, generously coming forward and purchasing a controlling interest in the zoo. This means decisions that need to be made in the best interests of the animals can now be made expeditiously by a single individual. He did so out of compassion and as response to the overwhelming love and concern expressed for Tina by the public.He has agreed to work with knowledgeable professionals and members of the corporate world to make the Greater Vancouver Zoo a facility to be proud of.
It has taken many years and the courage and commitment of this one owner, but finally, Vancouver may now get a zoo worthy of widespread support. One that is based on environmental education and conservation. I believe it is important to let the public know that their actions have had a tremendously positive effect, not just for Tina, but, I hope, for all of the animals at the zoo, and for those of us who love them.
Information regarding the actual time of Tina's departure will be listed at www.greatervancouverzoo.com.
Dr. Bruce Burton, Abbotsford
We've carried several wire stories recently about Tina, a 33-year-old elephant at the Vancouver Zoo. Tina has been padding around on the same hard-packed earth all her life and that has given her a chronic foot infection. Zoo staff recognized Tina needed a more natural setting.
They have finally settled on a place in Tennessee called the Elephant Sanctuary. She goes there in early August.
The sanctuary is run by Carol Buckley. Some readers may remember her.
Ten years ago, StreetBeat journeyed to Rockton and visited Carol. She had arrived from California 18 months earlier and rented a cottage in the village.She was with her friend, Tarra, a teenaged elephant. The two lived on a small piece of land next to a national forest. Tarra did some TV work -- the Academy Awards the year Passage to India was in the running, commercials for Toyota, Nissan, Tonka Toys.
Then Carol taught Tarra to roller skate and they toured the rinks of America. By 1993, however, Carol was looking for a quieter life for Tarra.
She hoped Tarra could become a mother and had come to the Rockton Lion Safari because she decided it had the best breeding program.
When we interviewed Carol back then, Tarra was seven months pregnant, 14 months still to go. That spring they were going back home.
Late in the summer of the next year, Carol sent us a letter. It was sad news. Tarra's baby was stillborn. But Carol was moving ahead with a plan to create a place for elephants in distress.
She's achieved that and Tina the Vancouver elephant will be her next resident. It's time to talk to Carol again.
We reached her yesterday at her office on the second floor of the giant barn outside Hohenwald, southwestern Tennessee. We tell her we're watching her elephants right now. We've gone to elephants.com and clicked on EleCam for live footage.Carol tells us that is Sissy splashing in the pond. Sissy was in a Texas zoo that got hit by a flood seven years ago. It washed the animals away and they found Sissy wedged between some trees, just her trunk above water. That left her with a terrible fear of water.
Some had said she was a mad elephant anyway, a killer. Nonsense, Carol decided. And now, before our very eyes, she's frolicking in the pond.
The planning for this sanctuary began in Hamilton's hinterlands.
At the Lion Safari, Carol met a young man named Scott Blais. He started in maintenance and moved on to elephants.It was a traditional approach to elephant handling at the park and then this petite blond woman arrived. "I was this weird girl who talked to the elephants," Carol says. She was gentle. She let them touch her.
Scott learned more about her approach and together they set out to create the sanctuary. California and Florida were too dry. The Tennessee land was affordable, with grapevines, blackberries, three kinds of bamboo, eight kinds of grass.
They opened early in 1995 with one resident, Carol's elephant Tarra.
Now there's Sissy, Winkie, Jenny, Bunny and Shirley, oldest at 56.So Tina will make seven. Come October, three more elephants arrive. There will be plenty of room, because the sanctuary is about to expand to more than 1,000 hectares.
Carol and Scott have achieved this, not with big corporate money, but 16,000 smallish donors. Carol has just put out the call to them for help to buy a used $8,500 US air conditioning unit to be installed in the truck that will bring Tina down from Vancouver.
Early on, a donor presented them with the web address www.elephants.com. At the time, Carol didn't even really know what to do with it.But now, thanks to volunteers, they have a terrific Web site. The best part of it is EleCam.
There are no visitors at the Elephant Sanctuary, but this is even better. "People get to see true elephant behaviour," Carol says. They have four cameras now, but will soon have a dozen.
We tell Carol it's soothing to watch -- right in the office -- a great beast stretched out in the Tennessee sun, just flapping a big ear every now and then or lumbering down a dusty path.
Carol knows all about that therapeutic effect. Apparently thousands tune in and if a storm should bring down the live eye, the e-mails come in fast. People say their day doesn't go right without elephants basking on their screens.
Vancouver Humane Society was at the forefront of a successful campaign in May to send Tina the elephant from the Greater Vancouver Zoo to the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. Tina was living in poor conditions at the zoo, suffering from chronic foot infections and stress due to loneliness and lack of stimulation. The zoo was planning to move her, prompting concern about where she would be sent.
VHS, working with Zoocheck Canada and other concerned groups, launched a campaign to urge the zoo to retire Tina to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The 800-acre sanctuary provides elephants with freedom to roam, a coercion-free management system - and all the care Tina needed.
The campaign sparked massive media coverage and intense public pressure for Tina to be moved to the sanctuary. When the zoo announced it was going to send Tina to the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, there was widespread outrage.
The campaign brought Bowmanvilles poor reputation for animal treatment to light, galvanizing public opposition to the move. Finally, after two weeks of irresistible pressure, the zoo announced it would not send Tina to Bowmanville. The next day it announced that Tina would be going to the sanctuary in Tennessee. It is expected that she will be moved there by the end of June. Anyone wanting to check on Tina's progress can log on to the sanctuary's website at www.elephants.com.
VHS is delighted that the zoo changed its mind but we remain concerned about conditions for other animals there—a concern heightened by recent news of the death of a five-year-old Siberian tiger at the zoo.
We will continue to monitor the Greater Vancouver Zoos operations and we will not hesitate to bring poor animal conditions or care to the publics attention.
In the meantime we would like to express our appreciation for the remarkable public support for the campaign to save Tina. When people join together to help animals they really can make a difference.
If you would like to make a donation to Tina's care please send it directly to the sanctuary: The Elephant Sanctuary, P.O. Box 393, Hohenwald, Tennessee, USA 38462. VHS would also be grateful to receive donations to defray the unexpected costs of this campaign so we can help other animals.
Tina, the aging elephant with abscesses on the bottom of her feet, won't be moving to the U.S. until August, pending results from a tuberculosis test.The 33-year-old elephant will stay at the Greater Vancouver Zoo until test results are back on Aug. 6. She was set to begin a move Saturday to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. It takes 60 days to get results from a tuberculosis culture test, so Tina would have to be physically isolated from other elephants at the sanctuary for that period.
Officials felt that would amount to cruelty because the elephant would still be able to see, hear and smell other elephants, said Carol Buckley, an official with the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Once in her new home, owners think Tina's foot condition will heal in about six months.
Buckley said elephants' soles bruise easily, especially Asian elephants.
Tina has been walking around in the same yard for 30 years, packing the dirt into an unnaturally hard surface that caused the abscesses, said Buckley.
At the private Tennessee sanctuary, Tina would be able to roam an area that will expand to about 1,100 hectares.
The expanded area would be much easier on the elephant's feet, said Buckley.
Buckley said it would take as long as four days and cost about $20,000 US to haul Tina to Tennessee in a specially-designed semi-trailer.
The elephant will join six other female Asian elephants.
The sanctuary has plans to eventually accommodate 100 elephants.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, east of Vancouver, had announced earlier that it wanted to find a new home for the elephant.
The Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, east of Toronto, withdrew its initial offer to take her after animal welfare groups charged the elephant would be used for kids' rides and shows.
Michael Hackenberger, the zoo's co-owner and director, said he recanted because of "the level of slander and lies."
Hackenberger also acknowledged last month that he hits his elephants when necessary, particularly when one is behaving aggressively toward people or other animals.
During her 30-year stay in Vancouver, Tina routinely appeared in parades at the Pacific National Exhibition and in Aldergrove, Langley and Abbotsford.
HOHENWALD, Tenn. (June 12, 2003) Just when everyone was sure Tina would be moved to the Sanctuary without a hitch, an unexpected situation has developed.
Everything was coming together smoothly. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) declared Tina could be moved immediately. Upon receiving confirmation from both USFWS & USDA, Canadian CITES announced Tinas export permit could be issued the next day.
The USFWS, the agency that regulates the importation of endangered species, assured Canadian CITES that no USFWS permit was required to import Tina into the United States. The reason for her exception is that Tina was born in 1970, a few years before the Asian elephant was declared an endangered species. As result of her birth date, Tina is exempt from some laws intended to protect her species; she and others her age and older are "grand-fathered" in and not effected by all of the USFWS regulations governing Asian elephants born after 1973.
The USDA monitors elephant importation with regard to health and welfare. They require all elephants living in or moving to the US to be tested annually for tuberculosis. For the past several years the human strain of tuberculosis has plagued many herds of performing elephants including Hawthorn Corporation, the largest elephant leasing company in the US, and Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, the largest traveling circus in the US. The TB test consists of collecting sputum through a procedure called a trunk wash. The sputum is then cultured which requires sixty days to be conclusive.
Tinas trunk wash samples arrived at the USDA lab for processing Wednesday, June 11. The results will be available August 6th.
In the past, the USDA had accepted results of an additional test called an MTD when used in conjunction with the culture test. The MTD test utilizes the same trunk wash sample but unlike the culture test, which takes sixty days to produce results, the MTD produces results in forty-eight hours.
The USDA recently changed their policy regarding MTD testing and does not accept it as an official TB test. This policy change is the reason Tinas move has been delayed.
Although Tinas TB culture test results will not be available for another sixty days, the USDA has stated they could allow Tina to move to the Sanctuary at any time. There would be one restriction; although Tina would be allowed to move to the Sanctuary immediately, she would not be allowed to have any physical contact with the Sanctuary elephants until the culture test results are conclusive.
That means Tina would be allowed NO PHYSICAL INTERACTION with any of the Sanctuary elephants for up to sixty days. Even though she would be kept isolated from her new family, Tina would be able to smell, see and hear the other elephants. In our experience, such deprivation borders on cruelty. Although these conditions would not be life threatening, it is no way to begin a relationship and develop trust between keepers and/or elephants. Tinas forced isolation from the other elephants would definitely be most stressful for her as well as the other elephants. For elephants, being allowed to see, smell and hear but deprived of touch is not a healthy situation.
After consulting with the staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, it was mutually agreed that it is in Tinas best interest to remain at the zoo, in familiar surroundings, with staff that she knows, until such time as she can be allowed to interact freely with her new elephant family at the Sanctuary. This has been a very difficult and painful decision. Everyone, Sanctuary staff, zoo staff and all of Tinas friends, desperately want her to move to the Sanctuary as soon as possible. But after careful consideration, we realized that the best thing for Tina is to stay at the zoo a few extra weeks until she can be with her new elephant family in a healthy way.
Tinas new target move date is set for August 7. Considering the temperature at this time of year the Sanctuary is going to the expense of installing an air conditioning unit in Tinas trailer so that she will remain cool and comfortable during her trip to the Elephant Sanctuary.
The Elephant Sanctuary, located in Hohenwald, Tenn. is the nations first natural-habitat refuge developed to meet the needs of endangered Asian elephants. The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization, licensed by the US Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The Sanctuary currently gives refuge to six elephants, with plans to rescue more in the future. For more information about how you can become a member of the Sanctuary or make donations, call (931) 796-6500 or visit the web site at www.elephants.com.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo says it applied Wednesday for a government export permit to send Tina, its ailing elephant, to a sanctuary in Tennessee.
"We couriered it off today," animal-care manager Jamie Dorgan said in an interview.
Dorgan says officials at the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) office in Ottawa told him they would process the permit as quickly as possible.
"We're hoping to get it back by next week," Dorgan said, "but that might be pushing it."
Carol Buckley, director of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, said earlier this week that she wants to get Tina on the road before the end of June before it gets uncomfortably hot for Tina in Buckley's transport trailer.
Dorgan said the zoo is doing its best to meet that deadline.
"That's our goal," he said.
The news comes as a relief to animal-welfare advocates who were concerned that the zoo might be trying to capitalize on Tina's popularity by holding on to her through the summer.
"That's great news because we were concerned that they might be dragging their feet," said Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society.
Meanwhile, another high-profile zoo resident—its only male tiger—died suddenly on Tuesday of causes still to be determined.
"He just died out in his pen," said Dorgan. "It was a major surprise. We didn't expect anything like that."
Dorgan said the tiger, which was five years old and had belonged previously to a private owner in the Lower Mainland, had been suffering from urinary tract problems, so its death may have been related to that.
The animal's carcass has been sent to the province's animal health laboratory in Abbotsford for an autopsy. The tiger's death leaves the zoo with only three tigers, all of them females. However, the male had been neutered, so there was no question of breeding taking place. Tigers can live up to twenty-five years in captivity.
Tina the Asian elephant needs to start her semi-trailer trek to Tennessee before it gets too hot for her to be inside the "metal box," says sanctuary director Carol Buckley.
Greater Vancouver Zoo general manager John Lee couldn't say Monday if the zoo had applied for an export permit from the Canadian government to move Tina, the zoo's ailing Asian elephant, to a sanctuary in Tennessee.
"We're gathering information from documentation authorities at this stage," Lee said in an interview.
But he could not say if the zoo had applied in writing to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species office for official permission to move her.
Obtaining that permission as soon as possible is crucial to getting Tina on the road to Tennessee before the end of June, says sanctuary director Carol Buckley.
Buckley is concerned about how hot it might get for Tina in July or August in the semi-trailer she will use to transport her."If the ambient temperature is 85, 90 degrees [Fahrenheit] (32.2 degrees Celsius) and she's in a metal box, it's going to be uncomfortable for her," Buckley said.
Once she arrives at the sanctuary, Buckley says she'll be fine since the temperature there rarely rises above 32 degrees Celsius, whereas in the wild Asian elephants are used to temperatures as high as 37 degrees.
Last week Jean Robillard, a Canadian Wildlife Service official in Ottawa who administers export permits for endangered species, said there should be no legal barrier to Tina moving to the U.S.
Lee also said he would like to see Tina on the road before the end of June but that would depend on getting all the necessary documents to transport her across the border.
"I want her to go any time when she's ready and when everything is ready," Lee said.Debra Probert of the Vancouver Humane Society, one of the animal welfare groups that pushed for Tina's relocation to Tennessee, hopes the zoo is not dragging its feet deliberately.
"I hope this isn't a sign that the zoo is going to stall and capitalize on Tina's notoriety," Probert said. "If Tina's well-being is a priority as they claim, they will do everything possible to move her as soon as possible.
"If they don't, they'll have to answer to the public."
Meanwhile, Buckley said the last U.S. government hurdle to moving Tina has been removed.
The U.S. department of agriculture notified her on Monday that it will facilitate importation of trunk wash samples to a laboratory in Iowa to test for tuberculosis.
Before the U.S. will accept an elephant from outside its borders, that elephant must be shown to be free of tuberculosis.
Eight years ago, two circus elephants in the U.S. were found to have contracted the disease—no one knows how—and ever since, U.S. authorities have demanded that a so-called trunk wash test be administered.
Buckley says it involves taking three samples of fluid from Tina's trunk within a week, freezing the fluid and then sending it to the U.S. for testing.
Tina's first trunk wash took place last Friday. A saline solution was poured into her trunk, and then a plastic glove was affixed to the end of her trunk to collect it when it poured out.
"Everybody broke into applause and said how wonderful she was after it was done," said Buckley, who was in Vancouver last week to finalize a transfer agreement with the zoo."She was singing and chirping for three to four minutes. It was so cute."
Two more such procedures have to be done before this Friday, and the samples collected and sent to a USDA laboratory in Iowa.
Buckley expects the test results to be ready next week, but says Tina shows no outward signs of TB.
Forget SARS. Forget mad-cow disease. Forget the West Nile virus.
Here in laid-back Vancouver, the only story anyone seems to care about is the gripping saga of Tina the Elephant.
The pachyderm potboiler, complete with alleged villains and warm-hearted heroes, has been leading TV newscasts and headlining local newspapers for days.
And best of all, there is now a happy ending.
Tina, almost always referred to as "the ailing Asian elephant," is headed to a blissful place, far from whips, zoos and circuses, where lucky, aging female elephants get to spend their last lumbering days on earth: Hohenwald, Tennessee.
"This is a great day for Tina, a great day for elephants," said Carol Buckley, executive director of The Elephant Sanctuary, the continent's only haven for "sick, old and needy elephants."
Yesterday's announcement of a home for Tina in the state where Davy Crockett "kilt him a b'ar when he was only three" capped an intense two-week fight by local animal-rights activists to ensure a proper placing for the affectionate 9,000-pounder.
But no one was happier than employees at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, which has been housing Tina for more than thirty years. The zoo was vilified for first trying to transfer Tina to the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, run by someone with a reputation for hitting elephants while training them.
Administrative assistant Katherine Kehtler said emotions ran so high that one Greater Vancouver Zoo employee was turned away from his regular grocery store and she was refused service at her local gas station.
"Don't authorize that nozzle!" the owner shouted, as she tried to fill up her tank, Ms. Kehtler recalled. "He told me: 'You're the shame of B.C.'."
She could scarcely believe how big the story became. "Every morning coming into work, I had to dodge BC-TV, Global, CBC, CITY-TV. I'm looking out my window right now. They're still out there.
"Now I really understand why Michael Jackson is such a loopy person," Ms.Kehtler said. "He can't even pick his nose, or have some of it fall off, without being on TV.
"People are starving all over the world. Women and children are being battered. I mean, come on. The attention this is getting is amazing."
But back to Tina.
The story began earlier this month when the operators of the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, just east of the city, revealed they were seeking a better home for Tina because the thirty-three year-old elephant was lonely and suffering from bad feet.
Hearts went out to Tina, which had been a fixture at the zoo for decades.
Feelings turned to anger when it was learned that the Bowmanville Zoo had been chosen for Tina's final years.
Animal-rights activists charged that Bowmanville zoo co-owner Michael Hackenberger strikes his animals and uses other "adverse" methods to train them.
Mr. Hackenberger denied the charges, explaining that he hit elephants during training when he was younger "and didn't know better." Now he gives them a belt only when necessary, such as when one acts aggressively towards a human or another elephant, he told reporters.
His explanation scarcely dampened the controversy, however, and, as the media frenzy grew, Mr. Hackenberger, in disgust, finally withdrew his offer to take Tina.
Enter Carol Buckley, the Jane Goodall of North American elephants. She has been captivated by the floppy-eared trunk-swingers since she first encountered a baby elephant, Tarra, at the age of six months.
"Tarra and I have now been together for twenty-nine years," Ms. Buckley said."Everybody has a calling. Some people help starving children. Others try to cure diseases. I don't think it's all that unusual for someone to be helping elephants."
She established her Tennessee elephant sanctuary in 1995 on 200 acres of rolling pasture and woodland. Financed by donations and fund-raising, the non-profit sanctuary has six elderly female Asian elephants on site. They can be watched around the clock by a non-stop cam on the sanctuary's Website.
Ms. Buckley was asked, Why elephants? "Because they're amazing," she replied. "They are a walking body of emotion, the most compassionate animal you can imagine. They're like a magnet."
The sanctuary's other elephants are expected to welcome Tina with open trunks. "Tina's a happy-go-lucky elephant and the others will treat her with compassion and kindness," Miss Buckley said. "They will touch and caress her and bond immediately."
After that, on such a special elephant day, it was time for champagne. Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society popped the cork and poured out some celebratory bubbly for everyone."Here's to Tina. And her freedom," he said.
Tina, a 33-year-old Greater Vancouver Zoo elephant with chronic sore feet, is getting a new home in the United States where operators of an elephant sanctuary hope she'll recover in about six months.
Carol Buckley, an official of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, said Friday the transfer would likely take place before the end of June.
She said it would take as long as four days and cost about $20,000 to haul Tina to Hohenwald, Tenn., in a specially designed truck.
The elephant will join six other female Asian elephants and eventually be able to roam in an area that will expand to about 2,700 acres.
Jamie Dorgan, animal-care manager with the Greater Vancouver Zoo, said the decision to send Tina to the Tennessee facility was made because she would be with other elephants.
The staff and facility there are better able to deal with her foot problems, and she would have a huge area to roam in natural habitat, he said.
"I'm just happy we're doing the best thing for Tina and it was the right decision," he said.
The sanctuary has plans to someday accommodate 100 elephants.
"Elephants' feet bruise easily, especially Asian elephants," said Buckley. "She's in a yard where even though the top surface of the dirt may seem loose, the truth of the matter is she has been walking around in that yard for thirty-some-odd years packing it down and so it's an unnaturally hard surface that causes the abscessing."
At the Tennessee sanctuary, her feet would be able to recover, Buckley said. The Elephant Sanctuary, 65 miles south of Nashville, is the United States' first natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered Asian elephants. It was founded in 1995.
Carol Buckley of the Elephant Sanctuary announces that the Greater Vancouver Zoo has decided to send Tina to Tennessee.
Tina the Asian elephant is moving to Tennessee after spending more than thirty years at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
Zoo officials announced the decision Friday after a private, 90-minute meeting with a founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, which is taking the 33-year-old Tina without any money changing hands.
Seven other Asian elephants already live at the only natural habitat refuge in the U.S. for sick and elderly elephants.
Because of a recent land purchase, the sanctuary will soon encompass almost 1,100 hectares—a landscape of pasture, woodlands and spring-fed ponds almost three times as large as Stanley Park.
In winter, the pachyderms can stay warm in a heated, elephant-sized barn.Carol Buckley, the sanctuary's co-founder and executive director, said a legal agreement between the zoo and the sanctuary will make Tina a permanent resident of the sanctuary.
And Buckley expects Tina will quickly recover from the chronic foot problems that currently plague her.
"She could live 70 years and I have no reason to believe she won't," Buckley said in an interview.
Animals rights groups campaigning for better living conditions for Tina had planned to demonstrate today at the Aldergrove-area zoo, but now they're celebrating, not protesting.
After the zoo announced its acceptance of the sanctuary's offer to take Tina, representatives of Friends of Tina, Zoocheck Canada and the Vancouver Humane Society invited a zoo representative to join their previously planned news conference in Vancouver and popped the cork on a bottle of champagne.
Jamie Dorgan, the zoo's animal care manager, said the elephant's potential market value was not a factor in the zoo's decision to send Tina to Tennessee.
"The issue was never how much Tina was worth and how much we could get for her," Dorgan told journalists. "This was the best possible decision, as far as Tina's long-term health and well-being goes."
He also said sanctuary staff are more familiar with the kind of foot problems Tina has. And he said the animal will have far more space in Tennessee
"Overall, there are a lot of factors that make it a better home for Tina at this point in her life."
The sanctuary plans to transport Tina in a custom-built semi-trailer truck that was donated by United Parcel Services. The three-day highway trip will cost about $20,000 US. Once again, the sanctuary will pay the bill.
Jean Robillard, a Canadian Wildlife Service official in Ottawa who administers export and import permits for endangered species, said there should be no legal barriers that would prevent captive-born Tina from going to the U.S.
Buckley said she hopes Tina will be trucked to the sanctuary before the end of June, before the weather gets too hot.
Buckley said the elephant will probably recover from her foot condition in six months to a year. The foot problem is caused by the continual bruising of the elephant's nail against the cuticle, leading to an abscess that never heals—a chronic foot problem that Buckley said occurs when elephants walk on a hard surface.
"We've brought in elephants to the sanctuary which had the exact same condition and the recovery time has been six months," she said.
VANCOUVER (CP) - Tina, the aging and ailing elephant with chronic sore feet, is getting a new home in the United States where the owners think she'll recover in about six months.
Carol Buckley, an official of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, said Friday the transfer of the pachyderm would likely take place before the end of June. She said it would take as long as four days and cost about $20,000 US to haul Tina to Tennessee in a specially designed semi-trailer.
The 33-year-old Tina will join six other female Asian elephants and eventually be able to roam in an area that will expand to about 1,100 hectares.
The sanctuary has plans to some day accommodate 100 elephants.
"Elephants' feet bruise easily, especially Asian elephants," said Buckley.
"She's in a yard where even though the top surface of the dirt may seem loose, the truth of the matter is she has been walking around in that yard for thirty some odd years packing it down and so it's an unnaturally hard surface that causes the abscessing."
At the Tennessee sanctuary, which is not open to the public, her feet would be able to recover.
"Even though it's a chronic situation now she can recover in six months," said Buckley.
Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society had been campaigning for Tina to be sent to the natural habitat sanctuary. He and others toasted the decision with champagne.
The Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, east of Vancouver, had announced earlier that it wanted to find a new home for the elephant.
The Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario had offered to take her but withdrew after animal welfare groups charged the elephant would be used for kids' rides and shows.
Michael Hackenberger, co-owner and director of the Ontario, withdrew his offer to take the ailing Asian elephant because of "the level of slander and lies."
"It's not the Canadian way and I'm not going to do it," he said.
Hackenberger also acknowledged that he hits his elephants when necessary, particularly when one is behaving aggressively towards people or other animals.
Jamie Dorgan, animal care manager with the Greater Vancouver Zoo, said the decision to send Tina to the Tennessee facility was made because she would also be with other elephants.
The staff and facility there are also better able to deal with her foot problems and she would have a huge area to roam in natural habitat, he said."I'm just happy we're doing the best thing for Tina and it was the right decision."
CREDIT: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun
Tina, the Asian elephant, could be off to Tennessee soon. It could take up to four days to transport the pachyderm south.
Tina, the Greater Vancouver Zoo's Asian elephant, is not going to the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, and Carol Buckley, director of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is hopeful zoo managers in Aldergrove will decide today to send the ailing pachyderm to her instead.
On Tuesday the Greater Vancouver Zoo said it would send Tina, who suffers from chronic and debilitating foot problems, to Bowmanville, east of Toronto. That provoked complaints from animal welfare advocates who warned that Tina would be used for entertainment in Bowmanville and that Michael Hackenberger was known to strike his animals
Hackenberger announced Thursday morning that because of the "lies" told about his zoo, he had withdrawn his offer to take Tina, who has infections and arthritis in her feet.
Buckley said later she was told by Greater Vancouver Zoo officials Wednesday night that they had told Hackenberger Wednesday Tina would not be sent to Bowmanville because of Hackenberger's claim to the media that Tina would be used in amusement rides and shows in the zoo's amphitheatre.
Zoo general manager John Lee would not confirm that on Thursday, saying only that he didn't know who at the zoo phoned Hackenberger.
"I don't have any idea who called [Bowmanville]," he said in a phone interview. "But it was not me."
He did add, however, that he was concerned about claims Tina would be used for entertainment, saying: "I didn't get full information about Bowmanville."
He then said: "That's why we're leaning toward the Tennessee Sanctuary."
Hackenberger did not return a phone message left by The Vancouver Sun asking if the Greater Vancouver Zoo had withdrawn its offer to send Tina to him.
Buckley said Thursday on her way to catch a plane to Vancouver that she was told Wednesday that providing she can meet all the conditions the Greater Vancouver Zoo has set for Tina's care and transfer, the zoo would send her to Tennessee.
"I have provided all the information they need," she said. "I don't see any reason why they wouldn't say yes."
She is due to meet Lee and other zoo officials at 9 a.m. today to discuss the details.
Jamie Dorgan, the Greater Vancouver Zoo's animal-care manager, initially said he was concerned about the time it would take to obtain permits to move Tina across the border. He also was worried about how long it would take to get her to Hohenwald, the nearest town to Buckley's sanctuary.
But officials at the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species said it would take six weeks to obtain a permit, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife department has said no permit is required.
Buckley said it would take up to four days for her to haul Tina to Tennessee in a specially designed semi-trailer because even though a non-stop journey would take only forty hours, Tina would require regular rest breaks.
Public concern about Tina has been overwhelming. Lee said the zoo has been inundated with calls and e-mails from members of the public concerned about Tina's fate.
Lee admits the public outcry has concerned the zoo, but said Tina's interests have always been central to the zoo's decision about where to send her.
With Bowmanville out of the running, Lee said the zoo has no other alternatives to the Tennessee Sanctuary.
"For the time being, I don't have any other ideas. We're just considering the possibility of the Tennessee Sanctuary. If the conditions are met, we are going to send her there."
Hackenberger issued a press release Thursday morning saying he had voluntarily withdrawn his offer to take Tina."In light of the media frenzy and the public circus which has developed, we are no longer able to assist this elephant," he said.
Later in a phone interview, he said because of "the level of slander and lies," he could not take Tina, adding: "It's not the Canadian way and I'm not going to do it."
On Wednesday afternoon, Hackenberger told The Sun he had intended to use Tina in amusement rides and in "educational" shows.
He also said he does hit his elephants when necessary, particularly when one is behaving aggressively towards a human being or another animal.
On Thursday, Nova Scotia veterinarian Hugh Chisholm told The Sun he had inspected Hackenberger's elephants when Hackenberger took them to Halifax for a circus performance in 1997, and that two of them were chained even though Hackenberger promised him he never chained his elephants.
Chisholm also said Hackenberger told him then that he beat his animals.
"I talked to Mr. Hackenberger and he told me if he had an elephant with aggressive tendencies, he would go in and beat it and had no problem with that."
Hackenberger told The Sun on Wednesday that he did beat his elephants when he was "younger and didn't know better," but now would hit them only when necessary.
On Thursday, the Greater Vancouver Zoo moved Tina briefly to a grassy enclosure that would be easier on her feet, but moved her back to her concrete facility in the afternoon. Lee said she would be moved back and forth between both enclosures in future.
Veterinarians say because the elephant gets little or no exercise, her blood doesn't circulate properly which means her body can't fight off infections the way it should.
As a consequence, what should be minor infections get worse to the point that Tina could become so sick that she'll no longer want to eat. Then she will have to be destroyed.
That's why, says Buckley, it's imperative that Tina make it to her 1,200-hectare sanctuary because there she will have plenty of room to move around and get adequate exercise.
In the wild, elephants can travel up to 100 kilometres a day.
Currently there are seven Asian elephants at the Tennessee sanctuary, all of them female and all of them rescued from different circumstances. One lived for over a year in the back of a delivery truck in California. Another developed chronic food rot after being declared useless by a circus. A third almost drowned in a flood in Texas.
Buckley says it costs over $600,000 Cdn a year to maintain the facility, and that all of it comes from donations. She also said it has no trouble maintaining that level of support.
"That's why we can afford to rescue new elephants like Tina."
Julie Woodyer of Zoocheck Canada, one of the animal welfare groups opposed to Tina going to Bowmanville, said she was cautiously hopeful about Thursday's news.
"We're hopeful that this is a sign that the zoo is going to make the choice of sending Tina to Tennessee, which everyone knows will be in Tina's best interests.
"But we'll remain concerned until we hear the word that Tina is going to the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary."
Sanctuary Director Carol Buckley is meeting with representatives of the Greater Vancouver Zoo to discuss Tina's future and will attend a press conference held in the afternoon in Vancouver.
MORE........ Zoo backtracks after outcry over ailing Tina's fate
CREDIT: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun
Tina, who suffers from chromic foot problems, could be moved to Tennessee
Greater Vancouver Zoo general manager John Lee said Wednesday he won't send Tina, the zoo's ailing Asian elephant, to an Ontario zoo if concerns raised about her possible treatment there are true.
The zoo's announcement Tuesday that it planned to send Tina to the Bowmanville Zoo, a facility 64 kilometres east of Toronto, provoked an outcry from animal welfare groups who charged that the zoo's co-owner and director, Michael Hackenberger, strikes his animals and uses other forms of deprivation to train them.
But Lee said Wednesday the Vancouver zoo is in a position to change its mind "at any time" if such claims are true because no written commitments have been made to send her to Ontario.
Referring to the concerns reported in The Vancouver Sun Wednesday, Lee said: "If any of that is true, I will change my mind."
He said the zoo has been deluged with complaints from the public ever since it announced its decision to move Tina to Ontario, and it is concerned about that.
Jamie Dorgan, the Greater Vancouver Zoo's animal-care manager, said Tuesday he had received assurances from Bowmanville's Hackenberger that Tina would not be used for entertainment purposes.
But Hackenberger said in a telephone interview Wednesday that Tina would be used for entertainment rides and in "educational" shows in the zoo's amphitheatre.
Lee said if that's true, he would change his mind about sending Tina there.
"I don't have the full details. If those factors are true, I will change my mind," Lee said. "It was not reported to me like that."
Animal welfare groups want 33-year-old Tina, who suffers from chronic foot problems and isolation, to go to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., a 1,200-hectare facility that takes nothing but female Asian elephants. Sanctuary director Carol Buckley wants her moved there as well.
Buckley, who used to work at the Bowmanville Zoo herself, said the Greater Vancouver Zoo has good reason to be concerned about what use Tina will be put to in Bowmanville and about the training methods used there. She also promised that Tina would not be used for any entertainment purposes in Tennessee.
John Youngman, a board member of the Winnipeg Humane Society, told The Sun on Wednesday that on a visit to Winnipeg in 2000, Hackenberger told him and other board members that he used "adversive" training methods on his animals.
Youngman also said that Hackenberger said those methods include hitting them.
In Wednesday's phone interview, Hackenberger said he has been training elephants for twenty years and that when he was younger "and didn't know better," he would hit them. Now he says he strikes them only when necessary, particularly when one is acting aggressively to a human or another elephant.
In 2002, The Humane Society issued a press release stating that after a Bowmanville elephant named Limba was alleged to have attacked a keeper at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Hackenberger flew to Winnipeg, where he purchased a whip and an electric prod to beat her in reprisal.
Youngman said Hackenberger threatened to sue the society over the allegation, but that it never heard from him again.
Hackenberger denied ever striking the elephant, and said he bought the prod in Winnipeg because it was more effective for use at his zoo than any prods he could buy in Ontario. He also said the whip was a buggy whip commonly used by horse riders.
Also of concern to animal-welfare groups is Bowmanville's practice of housing Asian elephants with African elephants.
Mike Keele, assistant director of the Oregon Zoo, where Tina was born, said African elephants can harbour a herpes virus that is potentially lethal to Asian elephants.
While African animals display no symptoms of the virus, Asian animals, if they contract it, usually die from it.
Asked how much money an elephant like Tina could fetch on the open market, Keele guessed at anywhere between $30,000 US and $70,000 US.
Hackenberger said it could fetch more than that, but he was not paying Vancouver anything for Tina. He also said that if things didn't work out for her in Bowmanville, he and Greater Vancouver Zoo officials would move her.
Dorgan said the decision to send Tina to Ontario was made because of concerns about how long it would take to send her to Tennessee. He said gathering the necessary permits could take up to six months or longer.
But the Canadian office of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, the agency responsible for issuing the permit, says it would take six weeks.
Buckley said that once the permit is in hand, "we could drive up and get her in two days."
She said the Greater Vancouver Zoo made several calls to her about Tina Wednesday, and she will be in Aldergrove Friday to discuss transfer time and other issues with Lee and Dorgan.
She also said that because of the enormous public outcry against moving Tina to Ontario, she is hopeful the zoo will change its mind.
"When all this is said and done, and Tina is trucked across the border, everyone can be proud of themselves for standing up and speaking out for her. That's what will make the difference.
Copyright 2003, The Vancouver Sun
The Greater Vancouver Zoo is being called "irresponsible" for deciding to send an injured elephant to an Ontario zoo rather than a U.S. sanctuary.The Vancouver Humane Society, the SPCA and other animal-advocacy groups have been lobbying the zoo to move Tina, a 33-year-old female Asian elephant, to the 1,200-hectare Elephant Sanctuary, near Nash-ville, Tenn.
But zoo officials announced yesterday they were moving Tina in about two months to the Bowmanville Zoo, 64 kilometres east of Toronto.
Tina, who suffers from chronic foot problems from standing on the Vancouver zoo's hard surface for 32 years, needs to be moved to an area with a softer surface and other elephants.
Elephant Sanctuary director Carol Buckley had offered to transport Tina free of charge and was saddened to hear that Tina was moving to another zoo. "I'm very disappointed for [Tina]," she said. "She's not going t have an opportunity to heal. Actually her life will be shortened. She's not going to live her 70 years.
"And it's really irresponsible of the Greater Vancouver Zoo to send her to such a place."
Jamie Dorgan of the Greater Vancouver Zoo said they decided to move Tina to the Ontario zoo because it "would probably take us at least a year to get permits" to move her to the U.S., something Buckley denied. She said it would only take six weeks to get the necessary paperwork.
"We believe it is in Tina's best interest to be moved as quickly as possible to the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary," said Craig Daniell of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The eight-year-old Tennessee sanctuary has six female Asian elephants and the SPCA believes the facility would provide the physical environment and socialization badly needed by Tina.
In a move that has outraged animal-welfare groups, the Greater Vancouver Zoo has decided to send Tina—its ailing Asian elephant—to the Bowmanville Zoo in Ontario, a place that trains elephants for use in circuses and movies. Jamie Dorgan, the zoo's animal-care manager, announced Tuesday it had chosen the Bowmanville Zoo, a 17-hectare facility about 70 km east of Toronto, instead of the 1,200-hectare Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, because it would take too long to complete the necessary paperwork to move Tina to the U.S., and the wait could further jeopardize the animal's already bad health.
Tina is suffering from chronic foot problems, and the zoo says the condition is worsening each day.
Dorgan said it could take up to a year to complete the documents needed to send Tina to Tennessee, but the move to Bowmanville could happen in two to three months.
"If we wait another six months, we're worried about what Tina's health will be like."
Bowmanville has the expertise necessary to look after Tina, Dorgan said, and is confident of receive good care there. However, he said while ownership of Tina is being transferred to Bowmanville, the Vancouver zoo retains the right to send the animal to Tennessee in 18 months if it is not satisfied with the treatment in Ontario.He also said the zoo will receive no money from Bowmanville for Tina.
Carol Buckley, director of the Tennessee Sanctuary, an exclusive refuge for abused female Asian elephants, was shocked by the zoo's decision to send Tina to Bowmanville.
At Bowmanville, she said, African and Asian elephants are kept together, which intimidates the smaller Asian animals. Males and females are also kept together, she said, which is unnatural. In the wild, she says, only females and suckling males live together, while males live solitary lives.
She says if elephants are introduced too suddenly to a strange group of animals, they can be traumatized by the experience. She also says Dorgan is wrong about the time it would take to obtain the permits necessary to move Tina across the border. She says her experience is that it takes only six weeks.
Cecile Benoit at the Canadian office the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, the agency responsible for issuing the permit, also confirmed it would take six weeks.
Michael Hackenberger, owner of the Bowmanville zoo, was not available for comment, but the Web site of the Humane Society of the U.S. indicates that fear and pain can be a fact of life for circus elephants.
"Circus training methods include beating animals with clubs and other objects [even during performances] and depriving them of food," HSUS says. "Trainers sometimes strike elephants with sharpened hooks, which can result in physical injury. Trainers resort to brutal methods to maintain a position of dominance."
Dorgan said he has received assurances from Bowmanville that Tina will not be used in circus performances, but Buckley said once ownership of Tina is transferred to Bowmanville, she doubts such assurances will mean much.
The Bowmanville zoo's Web site confirms its animals are used in an amphitheatre and are loaned routinely to film and entertainment companies for many purposes.
Last year, a Bowmanville elephant was loaned to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg and it attacked a trainer. According to a news release issued at the time by the Winnipeg Humane Society, a Bowmanville representative flew to Winnipeg, where he purchased a whip and an electric prod from a local livestock supply company and beat the elephant in reprisal.
Buckley said even if Tina is not used in circuses, the animal would be better off staying in Aldergrove than going to Ontario.That's because, Buckley says, the enclosures at Bowmanville are no bigger than her pen in Aldergrove, their surface is just as hard on her feet as her current surface, and the weather in Aldergrove is better than it is in Ontario.
"In the winter, it gets knee-deep in mud, so the elephants are confined indoors for weeks at a time. If they are put outside, it's freezing cold."
Canadian animal-welfare groups also reacted with dismay.
"This decision is a disaster for Tina," said Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society. "It will only prolong her suffering. It's unbelievable the zoo has defied public opinion and put Tina's health at risk."
Julie Woodyer of ZooCheck Canada said: "We're concerned about the husbandry and training methods used at the zoo. We're concerned its animals are continually rented out for entertainment and commercial use, and we worry Tina could be slotted into that category."
Dorgan said he knew the zoo was risking public ire by deciding to move Tina to Bowmanville instead of Tennessee, but stood by the decision.
"All we're worried about is Tina," he said. "If I were worried about public backlash, I'd send her to Tennessee."
The Greater Vancouver Zoo hopes to decide today where to send Tina, its ailing Asian elephant.
Earlier, zoo officials said they would decide over the weekend, but on Monday zoo general manager John Lee said he and other zoo employees would "brainstorm [Tuesday] morning to decide which is the best place for her to be."
Lee also said zoo officials have been in touch with The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, and are now considering the 1,200-hectare facility as a possible new home for Tina. Previously, they had refused to talk to sanctuary director Carol Buckley, but never explained why.
The Tennessee sanctuary, which houses nothing but female Asian elephants, is the first choice of animal-welfare groups concerned about Tina's well-being.
However, such groups remain concerned that the zoo is also considering the Riddles Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in Arkansas as a new home.
Julie Woodyer of ZooCheck Canada says this facility teaches people how to train elephants "circus-style" and that when the U.S. department of agriculture proposed banning the use of electric prods on such elephants, Riddles opposed it, saying shocking elephants was a necessary part of training.
Lee admitted the zoo is considering Riddles as an alternative, but said in his view the Tennessee Sanctuary was the better choice. However, he said the decision was not his alone to make, and that zoo officials would make their final decision cooperatively.
Jamie Dorgan, a representative from the Greater Vancouver Zoo, Aldergrove, BC, Canada, contacted the Elephant Sanctuary to inquire about the organization's acquisition policy.
Sanctuary Director Carol Buckley explained that the Sanctuary covers all the cost of acquiring a new elephant and transporting her to the Sanctuary. There is no cost to the zoo what-so-ever. If allowed to move to the Sanctuary, Tina would be transported chain-free, in the Sanctuary's custom built elephant transport trailer. Mr. Dorgan stated that the zoo is committed to moving Tina but the decision had not yet been made as to where. He did suggest that they were also considering another facility in Arkansas, which he said would be willing to take her.
When asked if she knew anything about this pseudo-sanctuary Buckley responded, "In regards to Tina's condition and her physical needs, I don't believe that facility would be able to provide for her. The facility in Arkansas chains their elephants overnight, manages them with human dominance and although they own 350 acres, the elephants are not allowed to wander the property unattended. The elephants are kept in a small corral. The public is allowed to visit, interface with the elephants and the elephants are used by students who pay to learn how to train elephants."
Buckley suggested that what Tina needs is access to a vast area where she can walk and heal." The Greater Vancouver Zoo says they will reach a decision about where to send Tina by the end of this week.
SEATTLE - The Pacific Northwest is no stranger to animal rescue campaigns.There was Ivan the gorilla, kept at a Tacoma variety store before being moved to an Atlanta zoo. There was also Keiko, the orca whale released into the north Atlantic.
Now there's Tina, a 33-year-old Asian elephant being kept at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in British Columbia.
A Duvall woman is working to get the elephant moved.
Tina is bored and lonely. The animal was born in Portland, and has spent the last thirty years at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
A companion elephant left last year, and Tina is now suffering in a small enclosure with hard floors and too little stimulation.
Even though she lives hundreds of miles from Vancouver, a Seattle area woman is working to get the elephant to a better environment.Nicole Meyer heard about the elephant last December. Since then she's made many trips to Vancouver to document the animal's chronic foot problems and disturbing behavior.
Now she's put up a website, friendsoftina.com.She wants the privately owned zoo to allow Tina to go to an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee.
Meyer hopes that one day she'll see pictures of Tina on the sanctuary website.
"I'm hopeful we'll see her with a family group, healthy, splashing in the water. I know they would take good care of her and they really want her there."
But at least one keeper is expressing concern about Tina's ability to make the trip.
Jamie Dorgan of the Greater Vancouver Zoo says "With Tina's health we don't want to send her on a very long trip. We don't want to load her on the truck for a long trip because it might not be very good for her."
Nicole Meyer says while another zoo might be better than this, the Tennessee sanctuary is the best spot for Tina and she's hoping the zoo owners will agree and get the elephant on her way before it's too late.
The Zoo could make a decision as soon as this week.
Pachyderms tuck into watermelons at Tennessee's Elephant Sanctuary, which has offered to take Tina, the Vancouver Zoo's ailing elephant. The Greater Vancouver Zoo hopes to decide this weekend where it will send Tina, its ailing Asian elephant. The zoo announced recently that it was no longer in Tina's best interests to remain at the zoo because of chronic and debilitating foot problems and the fact that she is alone.
The Elephant Sanctuary, a refuge for female Asian elephants in Tennessee, has offered to transport Tina to its 1,200-hectare facility for free, but sanctuary director Carol Buckley says the zoo still has not contacted her, and that she has not been able to contact the zoo herself.
"I called the zoo several times and was not able to get past the answering system," Buckley said Thursday.
Jamie Dorgan, the zoo's animal-care manager, said the zoo is considering the Tennessee sanctuary, but would prefer to send Tina somewhere in Canada because transporting her to the U.S. would require obtaining an international permit that could delay her move up to a year.
But Buckley said in her experience of moving elephants over the border, obtaining such a permit takes no more than six weeks, and that circus elephants are transported routinely between Canada and the U.S.
She also said it would be a mistake to send Tina to another Canadian facility because it's too cold for elephants in Canada. As a consequence, they have to spend large parts of their lives indoors, she says, which adds to the kind of foot problems that Tina is already suffering.
"If she goes to another zoo, she'll go to another situation where she has to stand on a hard surface," Buckley said.By contrast, much of her sanctuary is natural soft ground, she said.
Neither Dorgan nor zoo general manager John Lee could say what facilities in Canada are candidates, only that they have been considering several alternatives.
But Julie Woodyer, a spokeswoman for ZooCheck Canada, a Toronto-based society that monitors Canadian zoos, says: "There is no zoo in Canada that can even come close to providing the care or environment that the Tennessee Sanctuary can provide.
"The primary issues are space and substrate. The thing that sets the sanctuary miles apart from any other facility is that it is a?species-specific facility with thousands of acres of natural substrate enclosures for the elephant herds."
Woodyer also said no Canadian zoo can meet Tina's social needs as well as the Tennessee facility can."I am concerned that the zoo is trying to muddy the waters about what is best for Tina in an effort to maintain their economic 'cash cow' by leaving the door open to bring her back at a later date. The zoo cannot now, or in the future, provide the kind of environment that Tina needs to recover and maintain good physical and mental health."
Lee denied that the zoo is refusing to send Tina to Tennessee because it wants money for her.
"We don't expect any money for her," he said. "Our concern is her well-being, and her condition right now and in the future."
The Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove is looking for a new home for Tina, its aging and sick Asian elephant.General manager John Lee says the zoo has appointed Aldergrove veterinarian Bruce Burton to investigate facilities where the 33-year-old elephant might be sent, because her current enclosure is too small for her, and the zoo cannot afford to build her a new one.
"We are seeking a proper sanctuary or facility for Tina because she is old and ill," Lee said. "We are seeking every possibility to find proper facilities for her."
However, if a new home can't be found, Lee said, she will have to remain at the zoo.Last year the zoo's African elephant, Tumpe, was moved to an unidentified facility in South Carolina after it was discovered that African elephants can harbour a virus that is potentially lethal to their Asian cousins.The zoo's elephant enclosure, which can be seen from 264th Street in Aldergrove, has long been a source of concern among animal welfare advocates who say it is too small for an adult elephant and that its surface is too hard for an elephant's tender feet.
They also say it lacks any kind of enrichment to stimulate Tina and that, given that elephants are naturally social animals, she is suffering from isolation.
Lee says zoo patrons complain about the enclosure as well, and admitted that Tina does have "chronic" foot problems that necessitate moving her.
"Tina's condition is getting aggravated day by day," Lee said.
Advocates are pleased that the zoo may move her, but worry about where she might be sent.
"It's great news that Tina may be moving from the zoo, but she needs to go to an accredited elephant sanctuary, not another zoo -- that would only prolong her misery," said Peter Fricker, a spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society.
"Tina's been [at the zoo] for 30 years, living in extremely poor conditions, and it's vital that her environment is improved. We've monitored her situation for a long time and the zoo has been promising to upgrade her enclosure for years.
According to the VHS, Tina was born at the Oregon Zoo in Portland in 1970. She was moved to the Vancouver Game Farm, as it was then known, in 1972.In 1989, she was moved to the Lion Country Safari in Florida for breeding, but when she failed to get pregnant she was returned to Aldergrove in 1990. She has remained there ever since.
Lee said one of the places Burton is considering sending Tina is the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary, a 200-hectare natural enclosure specifically for "old, sick or needy Asian elephants" 100 kilometres from Nashville.
Sanctuary director Carol Buckley says she would be pleased to have Tina, but so far no one at the zoo has contacted her.
"I have not been contacted," Buckley said in an e-mail to ZooCheck Canada, another group monitoring Tina's situation.
"Please note Tina must be moved to an environment where she can live on natural substrate [surface] in order for her feet to heal," Buckley wrote. "She must move here!"
Burton was not available for comment.