OKLAHOMA CITY – Save the elephants and their trainers!
That’s the call from Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane), the author of House Bill 2895, which would protect the elephants and the elephant handlers at the Endangered Ark Foundation, a private nonprofit in Hugo, from potential animal cruelty statutory provisions.
“We have a circus in our district that has a very successful education program that utilizes retired elephants and other exotic animals,” Humphrey said. “We have animal activist groups that want to prohibit people from petting elephants or touching them in any way. They would even shut down contact with zoos. We are trying to get ahead of these groups coming to Oklahoma and allow this private group to continue to operate.”
The Endangered Ark Foundation provides a retirement ranch for circus elephants, and educates the public about the endangered species of Asian Elephants.
The organization says on its website, “We respect the intimate understanding of the bond and partnership formed between animals and humans, and the need for action to save endangered animals. We believe education and preservation efforts will ensure that people will able to experience the joy and wonder of the Asian elephant for generations to come.”
The foundation offers public tours and private encounters.
HB 2895 passed the House with a vote of 80-15. The bill was co-authored in the House by State Rep. David Hardin (R-Stilwell). The bill now moves to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. David Bullard (R-Durant).
State Rep. Justin Humphrey represents House District 19, which includes Choctaw, Pushmataha and parts of Atoka and Bryan counties in Southeast Oklahoma.