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Baby elephant to stay at zoo, owner says

The private company that legally owns the female baby elephant at the Oregon Zoo issued a statement late Tuesday saying it never planned to take her.

Have Trunk Will Travel owns the father of the baby born to Rose-Tu at the zoo last week. Although the breeding contract gives the company ownership of the baby, the company says it has always intended that she remain there.

The statement reads as follows:

Have Trunk Will Travel has no intention and has never had any intention of coming to take Rose-Tu’s calf. Have Trunk Will Travel supports Oregon Zoo’s vision for elephants and has great appreciation for the way they care for elephants. We are very proud of the significant contribution we have made together for Asian elephants.

We could not be more excited about the birth of this new calf.

The zoo is operated by Metro, the regional government. Metro Council President Tom Hughes said the contract appeared standard to him on Monday.

As reported by Metro's in-house reporter Nick Christensen, Metro Council President Tom Hughes said Tuesday the ownership arrangement for the Oregon Zoo's elephant calf seems routine, and expressed support for zoo officials in the wake of questions about the new addition's future.

"Zoo management are the most competent people," Hughes said in an interview Tuesday morning. "We have one of the best-run zoos in the country."

Although the contract had been reported locally in 2011, a Monday story in the Seattle Times suggested Have Trunk Will Travel could take the baby at some point.