Today’s City Commission meeting was one for the history books, there was a ton of important things decided, many new projects started which will greatly benefit our community, and great economic news! However, what makes today’s meeting so special was the decision about Missy and Kimba, our beloved elephants at Lee Richardson Zoo.
Paraphrasing what Commissioner Dale said; we should not think of our elephants as a leading seller of some product line, they are living animals that we have been entrusted to take care of.
Since it is not realistically possible to get a third required elephant our Zoo is forced to decide to lose our elephants now and ensure that they live a happy rest of their life, or lose them later and neglect their needs. This was not a decision about losing elephants at our Zoo, in the near future this will happen no matter what (as it is at most zoos around the country); this was if we valued our experience of seeing the elephants for the next couple of years at our zoo more than we valued the well being of the elephants themselves. After a hard deliberation our City leaders chose the elephants well being over having them as an exhibit at our zoo.
It was a difficult decision but history will show that it was the right one because right now we are in a dire fight to save the species (from Lee Richardson Zoo):
“The reason they are leaving is because there is a shortage of elephants and current trend is to make larger herds for more successful breeding. We have been attempting to get a 3rd elephant since 2005 and have been unable to due to the low breeding successes of the past few decades.
Unfortunately elephants are having a hard time in the wild and in captivity. Their numbers are dwindling and AZA facilities are adjusting practices to improve their chances.”
While Missy and Kimba are too old to breed they still can be part of the process to save the elephants by becoming part of a larger heard atChyenne Mountain Zoo. And even though they will not be with us for their entire life maybe they will be able to ensure that we will again have elephants to enjoy at our zoo in the future.
So why is this decision the “Historic” one out of all the monumental news from today’s City Commission meeting? Because it shows that our community values well being over personal pleasure and profit. There is no doubt that moving Missy and Kimba will hurt the Zoo but our leaders stood up for what is right and decided that we should make a small sacrifice to help solve a problem the whole world is facing. That our community is willing to do more than its fair share to make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy what we all had growing up with elephants in our lives.
When our city leaders make decisions based on what is right, it makes all the other great things that is happening in Garden City even better, and maybe even sheds some light on why our community is booming when so many others are failing.
It is a sad day for Garden City and yet it is one of our greatest.