I see that A Current Affair has picked up on the Saigon the Elephant story. I wonder if their researcher may have read this blog or if they were just thinking on the same wavelength as me, as they mentioned about how Arna and Gigi had been removed from their circus homes to the larger open range zoo at Dubbo, and wondered whether it would be a better alternative for Saigon to live with these elephants.
I would think so, but I am just a ‘do-gooder’ who has never ‘owned an elephant of my own’, so I should not be entitled to my own opinion. I should just leave it to Saigon’s owners to take care of her, as they are elephant experts and have cared for circus animals all their lives… except I am not willing to do so. Sure, I am not an expert and have never owned an elephant, but this is a democratic country that we live in which guarantees me the right to speak my mind regardless of whether other people want to hear what I have to say or not.
My gut feeling is that an elephant should be around other elephants. I would hate to spend up to 20 years of my life without human contact, so I can only imagine that Saigon would crave the companionship of another elephant. Female elephants are naturally herd animals and in the wild they hang out in largish groups.
Elephants are also rather large animals and would need a lot of room to move around in. At the moment Saigon is chained up and stuck in a small enclosure surrounded by an electric fence. I am assured that when she is not on the road touring she has a 40 acre plot of land that the Perry’s own to roam around, but how often is she off the road? Perhaps just during the winter months?
I am not a stooge for the zoos either. Zoos are really not that great an alternative for elephants either. They have been known to employ the same abusive methods that circuses have been accused of using. It was not that long ago that a Melbourne Zoo keeper was accused of using a bull-hook on Dokoon. They also do not offer a really large area for the elephants to roam around in. The elephant enclosure at the Melbourne Zoo barely had enough room for Mek Kappah and Bong Su but the zoo had to add three more elephants and then get both Dokoon and Kulab pregnant. How will this tiny space cope with seven elephants?
Maybe I am really unsure of where I truly stand in all this. All I want is what is best for Saigon. Nothing else!