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Maggie Goes to a Sanctuary!

Written by PETA | September 14, 2007
nytimes/Creative Commons

After years of urging from PETA, the Alaska Zoo just announced that they will be sending Maggie, a 27-year-old African elephant, to the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California! Maggie was captured in Zimbabwe in 1981 during a cull, and likely watched as her entire family was slaughtered. She has lived at the Alaska Zoo since 1983, and the last 10 years of captivity for this highly social animal have been solitary, after her only companion, an Asian elephant named Annabelle, died.

It’s pretty much a no-brainer that elephants, who roam up to 30 miles a day, don’t belong in zoos, and Anchorage, like most northern zoos, is far too cold for an elephant, meaning that she spends many months out of the year locked indoors.

You may remember that Maggie was in the news recently after a failed attempt by the zoo to provide her with a treadmill to give her exercise. Following this incident, and two subsequent collapses by Maggie due to failing health, attitudes from locals and the media changed, and more and more people began calling for her release to a sanctuary.

As PETA Director Debbie Leahy says,

“We applaud the Alaska Zoo for its compassionate decision to move Maggie to a warmer climate where she will be able to socialize with other elephants for the first time in 10 years. By taking action now, the zoo has ensured Maggie’s future happiness and probably saved her life.”

The zoo plans to finalize the agreement with PAWS within two weeks, and hopefully she’ll be headed to the sanctuary before winter. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!

PETA has donated $10,000 dollars toward Maggie’s long-term care—we hope she gets well soon.

Commenting is closed.
  • Monica Cook says:

    Best news I have heard today – Thank You for giving this dear animal the opportunity to enjoy the rest of her life. Wonderful News.

  • Gail says:

    the right decision for Maggie, I am just sorry it took so long

  • gail ryan says:

    I saw Maggie at PAWS on 10/18/2014 she is happy healthy and very loved by Ed Stewart and his wonderful staff and volunteers!! Maggie has two friends Mara and Lulu!!! It is such a happy life for Maggie now!!1 I will see her again on 12/13/2014 for Paws next open house. THANK YOU PETA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU ROCK!!!!!!1

  • gail ryan says:

    I saw Maggie at PAWSWEB>ORG on 10/18/14 she is happy and healthy!!! She has two buddies Mara and Lulu…

  • Antonia says:

    At long last. When are humans going to stop tu returning animals, keeping them prisoners, urging is in their best interest blah, blah blah, soon or later they wIll need to stop this barbaric practices

  • David Hoffmann says:

    My grandfather’s name is Frank Hoffmann whom lived on O’Malley road used to have me come over when Maggie would get into his pond. I hope she is doing well, Thank you for taking care of her.

  • Joy Heintz says:

    That is so awesome! I hope that maggie will live happy ever after. Thankyou to PETA and everyone who helped her.

  • Chelsie says:

    I’m so happy for Maggie! No ANIMAL SHOULD GO THOUGH STUFF LIKE WHATS GOING ON TODAY! Maggie is one of the lucky ones! I hope that some day very soon! All animals will have a chance of being free in happy homes or in the wilderness and not have to worrie about hiding running for their lives.

  • Jacqueline Deely says:

    I am so happy to hear this news it has brought tears to my eyes. One more beautiful innocent creature saved from a life of loneliness and pain. It is daunting to think of all the animals out there in zoos circuses labs factory farms….the list goes on but if just one life can be saved it is worth the effort. Thanks PETA and all you wonderful activists out there!

  • gayle says:

    huray I live in El Paso where Cissy was.. does my heart good to see the pics of her.. send out a blessing for the 2 remaining here

  • April Warwick says:

    It wasn’t easy getting the AK Zoo to decide to move Maggie to a sanctuary but it was accomplished. It took a caring heart and a lot of determination. The work paid off and thankfully Maggie will benefit. PETA you were one of the many that worked for Maggie. I’m so grateful and proud that our work does lead to the benefit of animals. We made a huge difference in Maggie’s life! Thank you very much PETA!

  • Danielle says:

    We will never understand why the zoo in Alaska is aloud to bring exotic Animals they should only sticks to winter Animals or why having a zoo it’s so unfair for Animals.

  • Shirley Elliott says:

    It does my heart good to hear of an animal getting what it deserves. All they try to do is survive. They love us unconditionally.

  • Elisa says:


  • kanchan says:

    plz save animals

  • DIANE M. KASTEL says:


  • merrill dellas says:

    I only hope that Maggie can live perhaps another 20 years in a peaceful and WARM sanctuary! Thanks to PETA and everyone who made this possible for Maggie!

  • Vince & James (SF) says:

    Thank you PETA! And Thank you to the Alaska Zoo. We wish Maggie nothing but peace and happiness which is well deserved after all she has been through. Thank you so much!

  • withgoddess says:

    Yes when it happens be so joyous! I feel my letter helped to free her. If we just take the time to write or phone or email…sometimes success is ours and it is also our friends! Love to Maggie and all the poor creatures of this earth. withgoddess x0x0

  • yerika s. says:

    we love you maggie. finally a happy ending!

  • dominique roumain says:

    Thank God! I so don’t understand the concepts of zoos and circuses. Animals are not trophies they belong in their own habitat. I am grateful for PETA and other organizations that care for animal welfare!!!!!!

  • Gemma says:

    congrats maggie. Enjoy the freedom you deserve. Love Gemma

  • Michelli Hassell says:

    Thank you soooo much Peta! What a wonderful thing! The two weeks can’t come soon enough! I wish her well. Now if we can just save all the other circus elephants we will be good to go! Rock on Peta!!!!!

  • Theresa says:

    It only took 10 Years for these bone heads to do the right thing. I am very glad for miss Maggie I just wish that we could save the Elephants suffering in the Circus. Sorry didnt mean to be so negative I am so happy for Maggie!!!

  • Robin & Charity says:

    “Bless her heart”me and my daughter hope Maggie has many years of Happiness ahead.God only gives us and them a few.

  • lindsay, age 16 says:

    i live in the yukon right next to alaska. its true that its way too cold up here for poor maggie

  • Green Girl says:

    GREAT!!! I am happy to hear that she will be in a better environment.

  • Jaclyn says:

    THANK YOU PETA THANK YOU PETA THANK YOU PETA THANK YOU PETA. I hope Maggie can make up for lost time.

  • carolyn says:

    I hope the rest of maggie’s life is peaceful and very happy what a gorgeous girl she is

  • Ana says:

    I am ecstatic! I cannot wait to see Maggie finally at P.A.W.S.!!!! Thanks PETA for donating $10000 for Maggie’s care!!!! That’s great use for donations dollars.

  • Rex's mom says:

    What happened to all the comments that were on here? They all disappeared!

  • bigfanx says:

    Hooray! for Maggie. If only the move will be swift. I choose to withhold my ‘thank you’ to the Alaska Zoo until I see evidence that Maggie is really on her way to California. This zoo and its management and directors have disappointed us one too many times. The stalling tactics … wait wait and more waiting… seemed to be founded in obtaining the best “deal” for the zoo not what would be best for Maggie. I’m not thanking anyone until she’s on California soil. DJ Midwest

  • reed says:

    thankyou everyone for helping this wonderful creature find true happiness in california