Concerned Citizens For Jenny
For Information on Dallas City Council Voting from April 27 to May 9, click on: Take Action For Jenny!
Jenny's Future at the Dallas Zoo
Jenny, forced to stand in virtually one place for life
The Zoo plans to hold Jenny captive in the existing inadequate enclosure until 2010 while they build an only modestly expanded exhibit that will not meet her needs, much the needs of multiple elephants.
The new exhibit will cost Dallas taxpayers 30 million dollars and that is not even counting the debt service. $30 million dollars could significantly benefit Dallas citizens if it were instead spent on essential city services, such as street repair, sanitation, neighborhood parks, libraries, and police and fire departments.
In addition, the annual cost to maintain a single elephant in a zoo is about $125,000. It will cost the City of Dallas nothing to retire Jenny to The Elephant Sanctuary and it will save the taxpayers a great deal of money.
Elephants are meant to walk many miles a day, not a few feet. As such, even when the new 3.75 acre habitat is completed, it will still be far too small for Jenny alone, not to mention the six other elephants they intend to cram into this space. The ground will be just as hard and compacted. Jenny will remain on constant display and denied the ability to emotionally heal.
In December, 2008, a ground-breaking study in the journal Science found that zoos may be the least safe place in the world for elephants. The study of 4,500 elephants concluded that elephants in the wild live up to three times longer than in zoos, even though elephants in zoos live predator-free and receive regular veterinary care and a steady source of food.
In addition, the Dallas Zoo has historically tranquilized Jenny for weeks, months, and even years at a time. There is no reason to believe that they will not continue drugging Jenny when she acts out from frustration and anguish.
The only hope for Jenny to be restored to psychological health is to retire Jenny to The Elephant Sanctuary. PTSD is every bit as serious and real as the physical maladies elephants develop from forced confinement from the unnaturally restrictive Zoo environment.
Elephants do not recover from PTSD without expert treatment as intensive as was the systematic abuse that caused it. Even today, Jenny can be seen displaying abnormal, repetitive swaying behavior (see Lily Tomlin’s "SAVE JENNY" PSA).
Jenny’s tiny enclosure prevents her from exercising and has forced her to stand on unyielding substrates. These conditions wreak havoc on elephants' joints and feet. More than 60 percent of all elephants in zoos suffer from foot disease, and nearly half have arthritis. These painful conditions are the leading cause of suffering and premature death of elephants in zoos. Jenny’s life expectancy will be significantly shorter at the Zoo as opposed to what it would be at the sanctuary.
Zoo captivity is extremely arduous for an elephant. The A.Z.A. admits to an average life span of 34 for an elephant in a zoo. Jenny is 32.
If Jenny’s life does not improve quickly, she is doomed.
While Lily Tomlin and I were at the Zoo in October of 2008, we watched a Zoo trainer command Jenny to raise her feet and perform other little tricks for the gathered audience. Such domination is the rule in Jenny’s life at the Zoo, rather than the exception. This does not help her heal from PTSD.
Jenny first "learned" to thus submit to domination during the years she held by Roman Schmitt. Surely, she still complies with commands out of memory of that abuse; of what she suffered when she disobeyed ... or even when she did not disobey.
The Zoo is counting on us growing tired and going away. But, we must not give up. Jenny has only one chance to be happy and healed. She could have many years ahead of her in the peace and safety of The Elephant Sanctuary, where she would live as elephants were meant to live; in unfettered roaming and with the ability to choose her own companions.
We must never cease advocating for her to have that chance. We must not rest until Jenny has the life restored that was wrested from her thirty years ago.
Save Jenny Now !