Rental company behind zoo elephant contract

Rental company behind zoo elephant contract

Tusko's father of the year 2009 cereomony at the Oregon Zoo. Copyright � Brock Parker

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by KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 5:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 4 at 5:43 PM

PERRIS, Calif. -- The company that owns the new elephant calf at the Oregon Zoo, as well as her father, Tusko is an elephant rental company based in Perris, Calif.

Have Trunk Will Travel, describes itself as a "privately funded family organization providing the public with safe, educational and recreational access to elephants," according to the company's website.

Its male Asian bull, Tusko came to the Oregon Zoo in 2005, on loan from Have Trunk Will Travel as part of a long-term breeding agreement. The 13,300 pound bull was born around 1971 and captured in the wild, according to the zoo website. He also fathered Samudra with Rose-Tu in 2008 at the Oregon Zoo.

Other elephants that belong to Have Trunk Will Travel have appeared in movies including, "Evan Almighty," "Like Water for Elephants," "Operation Dumbo Drop" and other films, documentaries and commercials. The company also rents out its elephants for parades, private events and weddings.

The animal rights group Animal Defenders International is highly critical of Have Trunk Will Travel. It claims it has video which proves that the company mistreats elephants.

Jan Creamer, the President of Animal Defenders International spoke to KGW Tuesday about the future of Rose-Tu’s new baby calf.

"We would like to see some assurances that in a few years time, when this baby is not so cute, that it won't be handed over to Have Trunk Will Travel,” he said.

The Oregon Zoo speaks highly of Have Trunk Will Travel, assuring that it shares the mission of providing opportunities for elephants to breed and live out their lives in family groups at the zoo.

KGW also contacted officials at the San Diego Zoo for their opinion. They described Have Trunk Will Travel as a "very highly respected organization" within the zoo world. They also said that one of the company’s top trainers worked with the San Diego Zoo when it was creating its protocol for handling elephants.

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