2006_02_elephant.jpgThere's a sad article about the elephants at the Bronx Zoo today. The NY Times reports that the zoo will close the elephant exhibit if one or two of the three elephants - Patty, Maxine and Happy - die. Why? Because only two elephants alone might be uneasy (three's is company) and only one elephant in the exhibit is "inhumane." The article goes onto to detail other American zoos that have ended its elephants exhibits (see Chicago and San Francisco, DC) and how elephants can be exclusive:

The Bronx Zoo, [Steven Sanderson, president and chief executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society] said, has a two-acre corral in which the elephants can move about, and its zookeepers monitor the stumpy feet of its elephants daily, but he would prefer to give them more company. Elephants may show their discomfort with a new arrival by the equivalent of a hunger strike.

"These are really social animals built around a matriarchy," he said. "The senior females have a lot to say about the size of the group, reproduction, etc. They do a lot of communication and are not open to newcomers."

It's almost like Mean Girls, but the end of the article is very sweet, with a zookeeper describing the pachyderms ("Patty is more of a planner, and Maxine carries out the plan. Patty will lead Maxine to a log, and Maxine will push it around.") The Times is quick to point out that since the Bronx Zoo's elephants are in their 30s, it's possible that the elephant exhibit will still be around for many years (though PETA claims elephants in captivity die younger). Still, Gothamist wants to make a field trip to the zoo very soon to see the elephants - the Zoo is open 365 days a year.

Has anyone read the book When Elephants Cry? And elephants do come to NYC each year, walking through the Midtown Tunnel with the Ringling Bros. Circus (there's even an elephant named after Rudy Giuliani); with the circus starting on Marsh 23, we imagine the elephant walk to be a few days before..