Ore. zoo pays $400,000 to own 2 of its elephants

PORTLAND — The Oregon Zoo has paid a California company $400,000 to own two elephants that live at the zoo.

Zoo officials say the payment from the zoo’s foundation was meant to reassure the public the animals wouldn’t be leaving for the elephant rental company Have Trunk Will Travel, of Perris, Calif.

The payment covers Tusko and Lily. Questions about ownership arose after Lily was born last year. She is one of two offspring of Tusko and Rose-Tu.

Under a breeding contract, Have Trunk Will Travel owned the calf, but zoo officials said she would live out her life at the zoo. Tusko was on long-term loan.

Zoo Director Kim Smith called the controversy “much ado about nothing” but said it was gratifying to see the community come together for the elephants.

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