PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Bob Barker is the latest celebrity to call on the Oregon Zoo to release Packy the elephant to a sanctuary.
Packy, 52, is Portland’s oldest elephant and has lived at the zoo his whole life.
Courtney Scott of the group Free Oregon Elephants said in a release that the former “Price Is Right” host and noted animal advocate joined others in a letter to Interim Zoo Director Teri Dresler.
Others who signed the letter include Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Barry Kent MacKay of Born Free USA. They join actress Lily Tomlin, who wrote a similar letter to the Oregon Zoo in December 2013.
In part, Barker’s letter said:
“After 52 years of service, Packy deserves to be sent to a place where he can enjoy his final years in peace and serenity. I strongly urge you to provide Packy with the retirement he so richly deserves.”
Here are the letters from Barker, Sheldrick and MacKay:
In April, zoo veterinarians said Packy’s health is generally good for his age and are currently working with USDA experts to plan a new course of treatment for combating the elephant’s tuberculosis, which was first discovered in July 2013.
Though he has shown no signs of illness from the TB, treating him has proved challenging, vets said.
“Packy’s advanced age is one thing we take into account in coming up with his treatment plan,” said zoo veterinarian Tim Storms in a press release at that time. “Just as with humans, the effects of these medications vary from patient to patient, and Packy seems to be more sensitive to one of the drugs. We’re starting a new regimen this week, and we hope this is the one that works for him.”