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Oregon Zoo Confirms Company Owns Elephant Calf

Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo director Kim Smith says there are no immediate plans to move a newborn elephant calf away from the herd. But zoo officials also confirmed a Seattle Times report that the zoo does not own the animal.

The company that owns the new elephant is Have Trunk, Will Travel. That’s a business that rents out elephants for special events and movies.

And zoo officials confirmed it’s technically the owner of the baby female celebrated with banners at the zoo’s front gate.

But Smith says the company supports the zoo’s mission and has not expressed intent to take possession of the calf.

“I think there’s a misunderstanding about how we determine where the calf lives. A breeding loan agreement does not say where she lives. A breeding loan agreement just talks about who owns her.”

When asked whether the zoo condones the group’s business model and methods for working with elephants. Smith said only Have Trunk Will Travel has been a terrific partner to the zoo.

In a statement, Have Trunk Will Travel said that the company has  “no intention and has never had any intention of coming to take Rose-Tu’s calf. “

Seattle Times’ two part series about the fragility of the elephant population of American zoos.

The Zoo’s explainer on the baby’s future


Statement from Have Trunk Will Travel

December 4, 2012

Rose-Tu and her calf

Have Trunk Will Travel has no intention and has never had any intention of coming to take Rose-Tu’s calf.  Have Trunk Will Travel supports Oregon Zoo’s vision for elephants and has great appreciation for the way they care for elephants.  We are very proud of the significant contribution we have made together for Asian elephants.

We could not be more excited about the birth of this new calf.


Gary and Kari Johnson

Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc.

Oregon Zoo

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