Sunday, October 13, 2013

Elephant Crushes Zookeeper in Missouri Zoo

I would assume this is Patience, although it could be a stock photo.

A 62-year-old zookeeper was crushed to death by a 41-year-old three-ton female elephant named Patience. (Attempts at humor regarding the ironic nature of her name are not appropriate at this time.) The elephant paused in the tunnel or shoot connecting the elephant barn to the elephant exhibit area. The zookeeper --specifically the elephant manager -- reached in with a training device of some sort. The elephant apparently grabbed the device and pulled the man into the elephant enclosure before he could or would let got of the device.

The zoo does not plan to euthanize the elephant, nor, according to reports, is any disciplinary action planned. Such was the wording of the zoo's press release. While I find absolutely nothing remotely amusing about this incident, I find the part of the release concerning disciplinary action somewhat odd. were disciplinary action to have been taken, against exactly whom might said disciplinary action have been? The deceased? Against the deceased's subordinate employees, who pulled the elephant off the man as soon as was humanly possible? Against the elephant, as in putting the elephant in time out a day after the attack, or perhaps a civil judgment against the elephant, which might include punitive damages? While elephants are legendary among animals for their long memories, conventional logic would dictate that Patience would not have had any idea why disciplinary action was being taken against her after much of an interval. Moreover, I seriously doubt Patience's neighbors in the elephant enclosure would have been deterred by any action taken against Patience.

I understand that zoo officials had a tough call to make in deciding whether or not Patience was to be euthanized, but surely safety concerns rather than thoughts of retribution, justice, rehabilitation, or punitive action guided the decision to spare the elephant's life. (For the record, this elephant had displayed aggressive behavior prior to the attack. It must have been a tough call to make, and I do not envy those burdened with making it. They are likely to face second-guessing regardless of their decision, as they were pretty much damned if they euthanized the elephant and damned if they did not do so.) Who wrote that press release, anyway? How much is the author of the release being paid? Even if the salary is minimum wage, I would venture that the employee is overpaid.

My sincere condolences go to the family and friends of the deceased.

This blog has ended, although I may return at some point later in the day. Go now in peace to love and serve the Lord, and to be mindful of the sheer force with which Mother Nature has endowed elephants. While they may appear docile and be portrayed as such in works of fiction, such is obviously not the reality.

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