The Santa Ana Zoo continues to offer elephant rides despite learning about the abuse of elephants in the industry as well as the public safety risks associated with the rides.
Elephants used by the company Have Trunk Will Travel, which provides the rides at the Santa Ana Zoo, were wild-caught in Southeast Asia where baby elephants are routinely separated from their frantic mothers and beaten until their spirits are broken. Companies such as Have Trunk Will Travel subject them to cruel training using ropes, bullhooks (devices resembling a fireplace poker), and electric prods. Trainers strike the elephants in the most sensitive areas of their skin—behind the ears, on the legs, and on the trunk—so that the animals will perform tricks and obey commands under the threat of punishment.
Elephants in captivity sometimes rampage and injure or even kill their trainers and members of the public. An elephant used by Have Trunk Will Travel went on a rampage in Denver, knocking over a mother and her baby and injuring the baby. It took a few hours to recapture the elephant. Elephants are also carriers of a strain of tuberculosis that is highly transmissible to humans.
Please contact Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, Santa Ana Zoo Manager Kent Yamaguchi, and Friends of Santa Ana Zoo Executive Director Cathi Decker and ask them to immediately end the cruel elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo. If you are a Santa Ana resident or if you have a few extra moments to make this letter more personal (and therefore carry more weight), please feel free to alter the text before sending it.