Alaska's elephant has new home

Sunday, November 11, 2007

SAN ANDREAS, Calif. -- You can see a lot of wildlife in Alaska -- bears, whales, eagles, and more -- but you won't find any elephants there.

The state's only elephant, Maggie, who spent nearly her whole life at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, has been moved to a new home in California, a sanctuary in San Andreas run by the Performing Animal Welfare Society. She has 30 acres there to share with nine other elephants.

The zoo board embarked on an expensive campaign to improve her quality of life, including providing her with a $100,000 treadmill that she never really used.

Pleas to have her moved grew louder this year when Maggie lay down twice and couldn't get back on her feet. Firefighters were called to hoist the 8,000-pound animal into a standing position.

The Air Force transported Maggie to California on Nov. 1, and retired game show host Bob Barker promised to donate $750,000 for her care.

The PAWS sanctuary is planning an open house in San Andreas on Dec. 8. Visitors will park in the parking lot and board a bus that will offer viewing of the facility's 33 tigers, followed by an opportunity to observe the elephant herd --though there are no guarantees that Maggie will be near enough to see, since she is free to roam around. Details at (209) 745-2606 or

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