was a very special day for Tina. There was a steady stream of friends
who stopped by the zoo to say goodbye and wish her well. Many wore their
new Tina T-shirts which they bought at her going away party last month.
There were well wishers young and old. Even the family that hosted her
summer vacation a few years came to say goodbye. It was a most
tender display of affection bestowed upon a wonderful elephant who has
touched the lives of so many.
Tina chirped and squeaked and gobbled down treats brought by her well
wishers. Her steady stream of admirers all voiced a gratitude that Tina
was moving to the Sanctuary. It was a very touching day, one that Tina
and her friends will never forget.
custom-designed trailer arrived, and Tina was interested in all the
her morning bath, Tina leaves the barn to greet her fans.
crowds of well wished looked on, Tina's crew prepared her trailer for
loading and departure. Tina watched curiously from a few feet away.
Painstaking care was taken to set the trailer just right. A pile of
dirt was formed into a ramp up to the back of the trailer so that Tina
can easily walk up into the back of the trailer.
Hines, who brought Tina to the Greater Vancouver Zoo in 1971, was among
those who gathered at the zoo for a send-off party for the 33-year-old
elephant. Tina quickly recognized Hines and began "singing"
zoo staff poses, one last time, with their dear friend Tina.
August 6, 2003
TB test results came back today. As expected, they are negative.
This means that Tina has met all of the import requirements and
can enter the United States!
night, August 5, 2003 late
trailer made a pit stop at Thermo King of Sioux City, South Dakota.
The air conditioner that we purchased expressly for Tina's trip
to the sanctuary was not operating properly. Driver Mike Knowles
reported that the night service manager at Thermo King was fantastic.
Without hesitation he got his crew on the problem. Mike could not compliment
Thermo King staff enough. After the slight delay, the trailer is
back on the road again and scheduled to arrive in Aldergorve Thurs,
August 5, 2003
Smith, a Sanctuary supporter living in Overland, KS offered
to be the official staff driver for Tina's move. Marcella is not only
providing a vehicle for the trip, she is also paying for the fuel and
her food and lodging. Marcella had just arrived in Canada when she left
a voice mail message on the Sanctuary office phone.
As required when you enter a foreign country, Marcella was asked
to declare the purpose of her visit. When the border personnel
learned that she was involved in moving Tina to the States, she
received a very warm welcome. Everyone wanted to talk about Tina and
how wonderful it was that she was moving to the Sanctuary. It seemed
that everyone was talking about Tina the elephant. By association, Marcella
was an instant celebrity and dubbed a member of the "Tina Crew".
26, 2003 Tina's Goodbye Party at The Greater Vancouver Zoo
June 18, 2003
Bob Bridges, one of Tina's keepers, visited the Sanctuary today. After
watching the elephants make their way into the habitat in the morning,
he was given the grand tour of the facilities. Bob could not quit
smiling and he appeared to be quite pleased with Tina's new home. When
asked what he thought, he praised the Sanctuary and stated that Tina
is going to love her new home. It was a pleasure having Bob visit and
approve so enthusiastically.
Scott and Bob Bridges
Scott Blais, Lanette Williams, Bob Bridges, & Joanna Burke
Fri., June 13, 2003
TRIP IS POSTPONED
Tenn. (June 12, 2003) Just when everyone was sure Tina would
be moved to the Sanctuary without a hitch, an unexpected situation has
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.
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.
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.
trunk wash samples arrived at the USDA lab for processing Wednesday,
June 11. The results will be available August 6th.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
June 12, 2003
The Canadian Wildlife Service issued Tina's CITES (Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species) export permit today. One more hurdle the
tuberculosis test results and Tina will be on her way.
Sat., June 7, 2003
Sanctuary has set June 23rd as the tentative date for Tinas move
June 4, 2003
zoo sent in the export permit application. They were told that the permit
could be issued in a matter of days.
May 30, 2003
staff was expecting Carol as she arrived at the GVZ. The media was there
in force. Tina was indeed a celebrity. The zoo staff was quite kind
and treated Carol professionally. They took her directly to Tinas
there she was, in all her glory, calm and content flanked
by all of her people. Carol remembers thinking "WOW is she ever
loved and she knows it".
The vet was standing next to Tina equally enamored with Tina. As the
staff discussed how they would secure a sample from the inside of Tinas
trunk, she stood calmly, unchained gently running her trunk up and down
each persons clothes, as if saying good morning to her human family.
She appeared to be fully engaged in their conversation as well.
was invited to approach Tina. As a personal policy Carol does not approach
or interact with elephants until they arrive at the Sanctuary. It is
a matter of respect but Tina has a different plan. Not wanting Tina
to feel rejected Carol approached and introduced myself. Carol recalls,
"We shared a special moment. Tina looked directly into my eyes,
straight to my heart. Her softness is definitely soul deep. I was hooked
like every other person in the room and Tina was basking in the love
that surrounded her."
staff prepared to take a trunk wash from Tina. This standard, painless
procedure is required in order to move an elephant to the US. Although
this was Tinas first experience with the procedure she remained
calm and cooperated fully.
sample was collected within seconds. Her keepers congratulated her for
her success causing her to erupt into song. She was so proud of herself,
she squeaked for what seemed like minutes. Everyone laughed and complimented
her further which in turn made her sing more.
one of her keepers dangled a bunch of grapes in front of Tina saying,
do you want your grapes. With a twinkle in her eyes, Tina cocked her
head to the side, flapped her ears forward and burst into joyful song
was released into her yard. Although she was in no hurry her keepers
commented that she was moving faster today. She stood close by as Dr.
Burton talked about her health and temperament.
she tired of our conversation she wandered over to the water trough,
which was covered with an assortment of produce bobbing on top. She
plucked the tasty treats from the water and popped them into her mouth,
one by one.
For the next half hour Carol met with staff and management. The agreement
was made Tina was coming to the Sanctuary. Everyone appeared to
be quite comfortable with this latest decision and knew the public and
media would be too.
zoo wanted to announce their decision right then. The media was poised,
ready. When the announcement was made everyone broke out into huge grins.
Tina was moving to the Sanctuary and everyone was aware of what great
news that was. The zoo staff toured Carol through the zoo before she
headed back to Vancouver for the press conference. This time the media
was greeted by a united front of animal welfare, sanctuary and zoo people
all sitting at the same table, on the same page, at least for that moment
in time. It was a wonderful feeling, a success for all concerned in
the name of a solitary elephant.
May 29, 2003
media continued to call and e-mail wanting to know of any new developments.
Carol was not at liberty to discuss the details of her conversations
with zoo management but did share the news that the US Fish and Wildlife
did not require an import permit for Tina. This was due to the fact
that Tina was born before the endangered species law applied to Asian
elephants. Due to her age, Tina was exempt from the law.
other good news was that results from Tinas TB test would be available
within 48 hours. This was a tremendous break but it was still obvious
that Jamie believed that the permit process would be a problem.
the only remaining hurdle was the Canada export permit which the zoo
was told would take six weeks or less. By the time Carol boarded the
plane to Vancouver, she was convinced Tina would be moving to the Sanctuary.
May 28, 2003
Sanctuary phones began ringing at 8am and did not stop until 11:30 that
night. It was a challenge to juggle the volume of calls and e-mails
coming in. The public had bombarded the zoo and media with their concern
for Tinas welfare and distain for the zoos decision. Many
people contacted the Sanctuary demanding something be done to help Tina.
It appeared the zoo began to feel the public pressure as well.
before noon Jamie Dorgan, animal care manager for the GVZ contacted
Sanctuary director, Carol Buckley. He began by asking basic questions
about the Sanctuary, how elephants are transported and what the cost
would be. As the day wore on Carol and Jamie spoke numerous times.
early afternoon the Sanctuary received an invitation from the animal
welfare community to attend a press conference in Vancouver to discuss
Tinas plight. Carol agreed to attend. Jamie was informed of the
press conference and Carols plan to attend. Jamie extended an
invitation for Carol to visit the zoo and meet Tina. By late evening
it appeared that Tinas future were taking yet another turn, this
time in a better direction, but it was also obvious that Jamie did not
trust Carols claim that the US permit would take no more than
May 27, 2003
zoo said they would announce their decision of where they would send
Tina at 2 pm. The rumor was that they planned to send her to an elephant
facility in Arkansas. This was devastating news on many levels especially
because The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee had offer Tina a home for
free. Many people questioned why GVZ would make such a decision. Their
decision for sending Tina away was because of her infected feet. Since
the zoo openly acknowledged their inability to provide an environment
that would allow Tinas feet to heal, their decision to send her
to the Arkansas facility made no sense. The zoo was aware that Tinas
foot problems stemmed from living on an unnaturally hard surface and
confinement in a restricted space. What she needed was room to roam,
roam to walk so that her feet could heal. The animal welfare groups
who were most interested in Tinas relocation were shocked that
this sudo-sanctuary would even be considered. They faxed and e-mailed
damaging information about the Arkansas facility directors training
techniques. He was known to use electric prods to train elephants. Dominance,
force and chains are tools of his trade. The Blackpool Zoo in England
had hired Scott Riddle as a consultant for their elephant staff and
later banned him from the zoo due to his training techniques. http://www.captiveanimals.org/elephants/eppupdate3.htm
thought of Tina going to Riddles concerned many as she would be
confined to a small yard, be chained in her barn at night and used to
entertain the many curious elephant lovers who paid to interact with
the resident elephants. Although Riddles website boasts 320 acres
of wilderness, the elephants do not have free access to the property
and instead are confined in a small pen during the day and chained in
their barn at night. Everyone was caught off guard when at 2PM the zoo
announced their intent to send Tina, not to Riddles elephant breeding
farm, but to the Bowmanville Zoo.
this point the GVZ had never contacted the Elephant Sanctuary, although
they told the media that the Sanctuary was a candidate for Tinas
new home. When the media asked zoo officials about their decision to
send Tina to a zoo they cited, travel distance and permit time as the
reason they chose the Bowmanville Zoo over The Sanctuary.
only were animal welfare groups alarmed at the announcement but the
public was not pleased as well. There was a serious public outcry, which
resulted in some very negative press for the zoo. The zoos phone
system was not working, leaving the public livid at not being able to
voice their concern over the zoos decision. The media shared the publics
frustration at not being able to reach zoo officials for comment. The
Sanctuarys phones started ringing off the hook and the e-mails
were coming in furiously.
Sanctuary voiced a concern over the zoo choice. It was common knowledge
that the Bowmanville Zoo could not provide the environment Tina required.
In addition, it was a matter of public knowledge that the zoo director
had been investigated for animal cruelty after zookeepers claimed they
witnessed him beating an elephant. Once again the animal welfare groups
in the area provided documentation and voiced their concern. Even some
former zoo employees contacted the media in an effort to prevent Tina
from falling into what they felt was an abusive situation. Everyone
hoped that the zoo would be made aware of the truth and change their
mind. Instead they stood by their decision, defending their choice,
stating that the US permit process would take a year and that the trip
would be too stressful for Tina. The Sanctuary failed in attempts to
contact the zoo to inform them that the US import permit would take
no more than six weeks and that the trip to Bowmanville was actually
longer than the trip to Tennessee.