I hope their trunks are packed
From today's Palm Beach Post-
LOXAHATCHEE — Stumpy and Mama have been munching hay side by side at Lion Country Safari since Richard Nixon was president.Too bad Lion Country has to rid itself of these animals but I do understand why they're doing it. I've only been to LCS once in my life when I was 9. We were driving through the park when traffic ground to a halt. A giraffe was walking between cars.
Once, they had plenty of friends. Today, they represent the end of an era — the last two elephants left at the 39-year-old wildlife park, and the last two on display in Palm Beach County.
As soon as the drive-through zoo off Southern Boulevard finds a new home for them, the park will shut down its elephant exhibit.
Meanwhile, they go about their business, sharing the kind of comfortable silence enjoyed only by those who have known each other for a long, long time.
"It tears my heart out," said Terry Wolf, wildlife director at Lion Country Safari. "When Bulwagi left to go to Disney, it was like when my son went off to go to college. It's heartbreaking, but you know that it's a step that he needs to take in his life.
"And it will be the same with these guys when they leave. I've known Stumpy since 1970, when I started here... and Mama came to us in 1972, so I've known these guys more than I've known most of my friends and family. They are part of your family, and it's hard."
Mama was 2 when she left her native Africa to come to Lion Country. Stumpy, then about 11, was here to greet her. A decade later, Stumpy saw Mama through her first and only pregnancy, then served as spinster aunt to Mama's calf, Bulwagi. (Stumpy also looked on, presumably in horror, while Bulwagi nursed for nine years.)
Wolf said Lion Country Safari is getting out of the elephant business because it is a "huge commitment, not only financially but resource-wise as far as staff, buildings and time."
"I'm not making a joke when I say elephants are a big problem," Wolf said. "We take care of their feet every day, we bathe them every week, we have an exercise program for them so they don't get fat, we have to monitor their diet and run blood tests."
Lion Country is not the only zoo-type facility reevaluating its elephant exhibit.
The Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park has not had elephants for years.
I have lots of amusing stories from my travels growing up. My father was able to finance some nice trips for his children. We even got to see a sign in the midwest that said- "Eat here, Get gas"
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