Oakland Zoo Featured in HBO Documentary, “An Apology to Elephants”

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — On Monday, April 22, 2013 "An Apology to Elephants" narrated and executive produced by Lily Tomlin and directed by Emmy winner Amy Schatz, with narration written by Jane Wagner, will debut at 7:00pmET/PT, on HBO. Oakland Zoo strongly supports the message of this film and is extremely proud to be a part of a documentary that showcases the plight of these magnificent animals.

The crux of this documentary is to explore the beauty and intelligence of elephants, tell the story of how these animals are exploited and treated in captivity, and shed light on the poaching of wild African elephants. Oakland Zoo’s elephant manager, Jeff Kinzley along with zoo president & CEO, Dr. Joel Parrott, and Colleen Kinzley, director of animal care were all involved with interviews and filming at Oakland Zoo.

“It is heart wrenching to see what elephants have gone through and still go through today in the name of entertainment,” said Nancy Filippi, managing director at Oakland Zoo. As an organization, we feel the message of this film is directly in line with Oakland Zoo’s mission. We hope this documentary is eye-opening to viewers and that it inspires them to take action for elephants.

Oakland Zoo is home to four African elephants, three females and one male. Their names are Donna, Lisa, M’Dunda, and Osh. More than six acres make up their expansive exhibit, which includes a swimming pool, trees, hills, and areas for dust bathing, which is a natural behavior among elephants. The elephants are managed with protected contact, meaning zookeepers and elephants do not share the same space; bull hooks are not used. The animals are never forced to do anything they do not want to do; instead, they are rewarded with treats for participating with foot care, morning routines, and health exams. Ten spreads (scattering of food throughout the exhibit) are done each day to encourage foraging and exercise. Truckloads of browse or tree branches are collected and donated from surrounding areas, to ensure the proper diet is given to the animals.

CONSERVATION CONNECTION: Each year, Oakland Zoo honors elephants by hosting a Celebrating Elephants day event and an evening lecture. The day event’s focus is to educate the public about elephants, explain why they should not be used for entertainment, and demonstrate what it is like to research elephants in the wild. The evening lecture is a more intimate gathering that features a guest speaker, silent auction, and reception. Proceeds from these events are donated to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, which aims to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa’s elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy. Cynthia Moss and her research team at Amboseli have spent time in the field researching and leading the efforts to understand these intelligent and complex animals.

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO: The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.


Nicky Mora
Oakland Zoo VM

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