Controversy over big baby's future

To the horror of animal rights campaigners, the calf could become a circus performer. Photo / AP
To the horror of animal rights campaigners, the calf could become a circus performer. Photo / AP

A 135kg baby elephant born at the Oregon Zoo in Portland has become the focus of controversy. The week-old female calf is the subject of a breeding contract between the zoo, which owns its mother, Rose-Tu, and Have Trunk Will Travel, a California-based elephant rental company, which owns its father, Tusko. As the Seattle Times reported in a series of investigative articles about the poor treatment of pachyderms in captivity, the 2005 agreement gives Have Trunk Will Travel the legal right to claim the second, fourth and sixth offspring of Rose-Tu and Tusko's union; the new arrival is their second. To the horror of animal rights campaigners, the calf could thus become a circus performer. The zoo's director, Kim Smith, insisted the baby would not be separated from its mother. "This is not an agreement that bears on where this animal lives. Where the animal lives is at the Oregon Zoo."

-Independent

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