|Elephant, from clker.com|
Long story short: shortly after her birth a newspaper (not even a local one) reminded the public of a breeding contract stating that our zoo would not be the owners of Lily, and they suggested that she might be taken from her mother at a young age. Despite the Oregon Zoo's assurances that this would never happen, some idiots raised hell.
It was quite a fireworks display to watch, and it was so spectacular that I had to write about it. Fortunately people calmed down after a couple days, but there was still some grumbling.
Then today the Oregon Zoo made an announcement that perhaps should not have surprised me. The Oregon Zoo Foundation has paid a bunch of money to void the breeding contract. This means that our zoo owns Lily, her father Tusko, and will own all of Tusko's future babies.
I guess it makes sense that they would do this. What happened over Lily's birth was pretty much a public relations disaster, and judging from comments on the zoo's Facebook page, some people still hadn't been convinced until now that Lily would be staying. (May I just say over that last bit...WOW.) The zoo probably doesn't want this to happen all over again when more babies are born in their elephant breeding program, as is the plan.
So, what have we learned today? 1) People can be amazingly clueless. As evidenced by the fact that some still thought Lily might be in danger of being ripped from her mother's side. 2) A public relations disaster can make non-profits spend tons of money to keep people happy. Ok, I'm just assuming that's why they did this, but I think it's a good guess.
On a side note, something funny. Even though I was never in any doubt that Lily would stay here in Portland, some part of me is immensely happy to know that she officially belongs to our zoo now. I can't even say why. I just am.