Thursday, August 20, 2009

Earned royalty

“There she is” . . . the Pachy Princess, chosen from among all the contestants in the “Ms. TUSKany Pageant.” The elephant (yes, the elephant) with the most votes (as in donations) will be crowned Ms. TUSKany on Oct. 17 at the 2009 Elephant Grape Stomp.

Humans who attend the event will “sip regional wines, savor Tuscan cuisine and share a squishy moment with the elephants” (a.k.a. “pachyderms” or thick-skinned animals).

If this seems stranger and stranger, that’s because it’s all about an elaborate fund-raiser for PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, in California. Among the residents at one of its three sanctuaries are nine elephants, including Maggie, formerly of the Anchorage, Alaska zoo.

You read it right: an elephant – whose habitat is tropical – lived for years in Alaska, in a cage with a concrete floor, and for much of the time without elephant companionship, until animal activists raised such a wide and loud ruckus that Anchorage reluctantly let her go. Underwritten by a humane and moneyed friend of animals, Maggie was flown to California, where she has settled right in, as reported in reports and videos from PAWS.

The vote-donations from here for “Pachy Princess” won’t go to Annie, Ruby, Gypsy, Lulu, Mara, Rebecca, Wanda or Nicholas (in the running for Mr. TUSKany) – however worthy they all are. Maggie’s the sentimental favorite. In becoming a “rescued elephant” and escaping Alaska, she beat the odds. (As Maggie’s freedom fighters said at the end of each note, “Warm rumbles” or “Trumpets!” )

Besides an introduction to PAWS and news of Maggie, more details on the Ms. TUSKany pageant can be found at the organization website: .

Vote early and often!

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