3/21/2011

As an animal lover I have spent many a day thinking about the plight of the Elephants at the Dallas Zoo near my home.  If you did not know, a few years ago an elephant died at the zoo leaving her companion Jenny all alone. Jenny began to get sad and would not eat properly. She was depressed to say the least. We all know that Elephants are very social creatures. They thrive in family units, and we all know that these huge amazing animals require lots of living space.  The space at the Dallas zoo was small and cramped for one elephant but they did not have just one elephant living on less than one acre of land they had two. All I could do is wonder, If this is happening here in Dallas, what is happening in zoo's all across America and how can we fix this?

After the first elephant died, lonesome Jenny was thrust into the media spotlight. The local news was a buzz at the loss of such a majestic creature so much so that it was brought to the attention of many including famous actress Lilly Tomlin who tried to get Jenny sent to a sanctuary in Tennessee. The city of Dallas was also contemplating sending Jenny to a sanctuary in Mexico.

32 year old Jenny the elephant was living alone and in misery.  Fans of Jenny including me were in an uproar. What would a zoo be with out an elephant? Boring that's what.  If Jenny was gone, how would I teach my children about the letter E, or about the largest land mammal in the world?  There is only so much a picture book can do for a child. To be able to see and experience elephants up close is the ultimate teaching tool.


After months of debate the City of Dallas decided that they would not get rid of the elephant exhibit but rather enlarge it. They soon purchased a large piece of land next to their already existing "Wilds of Africa" exhibits. Today this piece of land has been renovated and recently opened to the public showcasing the amazing Giants of the Savanah exhibit.  This exhibit will surely knock your socks off.

Soon after they opened to the public my family and I had to go for a visit. It really was an amazing experience. Jenny the elephant is no longer alone she has three new companions. Near by are ostriches that roam along side them. The giraffes have plenty of space to roam and you can pay a little extra to stand in a hut and feed them. The big cats have their very own spacious and equally amazing exhibit.  The rest of the nation is in awe of the new exhibit that Dallas has created to give Jenny and her new friends a better quality of life.

Since the Giants of the Savannah exhibit in Dallas is the only one of its kind in the entire US, cities like New York and Cincinnati have been interested in researching the new exhibit.  The animals are rotated and allowed to roam where previous animals roamed earlier that day.  The elephants will be tracked with light weight ankle monitors to see where they prefer to hang out and how much excecise they are getting on a dialy basis. The exhibit was created to mimic life in the Savannah and because of this many of the animals are showing a great improvement in their attitude. Yes, I said attitude. It has been said that the animals are all a little happier and more energized. Perhaps its because they get to stretch their legs and best of all sniff around where their prey or predators just roamed. It is bringing out their instincts which we all know is a good thing.  

Now that Jenny the elephant is no longer being kept in an outdated, cramped, poor excuse for an exhibit I can rest easy that she and her new companions are not living a sad life anymore. I know now that at least the Elephants at the Dallas zoo are being treated like the kings and queens of the Savannah that they are.  I highly recommend the new and improved Dallas Zoo. So if you are planning on visiting my city take the time to visit the Dallas zoo. You will be happy you did and remember to say hi to my favorite Elephant, Jenny.

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