Alaska Elephant Retires to SoCal

US Air Force enlisted to fly pachyderm Maggie south
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2007 6:00 PM CDT
Rob Smith plays with Maggie, an African elephant, at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, Alaska, in this Aug. 12, 2004 file photo. Following an impassioned public outcry, the Alaska Zoo board has decided...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Maggie, Alaska's only elephant, is leaving Anchorage for California, where the 25-year-old is expected to enjoy warmer climes and the company of fellow pachyderms. With no commercial plane large enough, the US Air Force will handle transportation. Zoo officials were initially loathe to give her up, but acquiesced after two incidents when she couldn't get back on her feet.

Retired game-show host Bob Barker helped seal the deal by agreeing to donate $750,000 for Maggie's care at San Andreas' Performing Animal Welfare Society. Maggie is set to arrive tonight at the facility, where she will live with nine other elephants in a 30-acre enclosure. "It is probably a good thing," one Alaskan zoo-goer said. "She's probably a lonely animal."