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Monday, September 22, 2014, 1:29 a.m.
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Southwest Missouri fair offering elephant rides

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 28, 2014 at 9:08 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD — A southwest Missouri fair is offering elephant rides one year after a zookeeper was crushed by one of the animals nearby.

The Springfield News-Leader reported elephants from Larry Carden's farm near Springfield are giving rides at the Ozark Empire Fair for the first time.

Zookeeper John Bradford was crushed to death last year by an elephant at Springfield's Dickerson Park Zoo, which stopped offering elephant rides in the late 1990s.

Former zoo director Mike Crocker said the main reason the elephant rides were stopped was liability. He said there's a certain amount of risk for staff members and fair guests that the zoo was no longer willing to accept.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

LR1955 says... July 28, 2014 at 9:45 a.m.

BIG bad idea. Not to mention elephants are not beasts of burden in the USA. Leave this kinda stuff to India and other South Asia countries. Im sure an elephant has a better bond with a young boy and his sugar cane switch than a redneck using a hickory rod with a metal hook !

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1soni says... July 28, 2014 at 10:29 a.m.

I think the LR zoo offered rides in the 90's.

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LR1955 says... July 28, 2014 at 1 p.m.

LR zoo = a very small enclosure vs the acres the elephants need.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... July 28, 2014 at 1:15 p.m.

Sooo ..... This what happens to old Republicans.

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HotSpringsLawyer says... July 28, 2014 at 2:03 p.m.

My son rode Ellen the elephant in Little Rock when he was little. She loved giving rides, and painting.

That was an awful enclosure for Ruth and Ellen, but by the time people became more sensitive to elephant needs, Ellen was about 60 years old and had lived there essentially all her life, so it didn't really make sense to move her. Her keeper took her for a walk around the zoo every morning before it opened and she would visit with the other animals. They say her favorites were the giraffe and the rhinoceros (maybe because they were more her size).

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Populist says... July 28, 2014 at 2:24 p.m.

I think camel rides are much safer. My little one and I rode a camel once at the Little Rock zoo. I went to the zoo at least twice a year as a child, but we were not allowed to ride Ellen. These rides must have come later.

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HotSpringsLawyer says... July 28, 2014 at 8:40 p.m.

Would have been circa 1990-92 or so. In Houston around the same time and earlier, I took him to the Zoo almost every weekend, and carried him around on my shoulders.

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