Monday, May 20, 2013

How Do You Love An Elephant? The Story of Fanny from Slater Park, Pawtucket

Fanny pictured with her companion Conga between 1993 and 2003

How Do You Love An Elephant? tells the story of Fanny, the Asian pachyderm who lived in Pawtucket's Slater Park Zoo for 35 years. She was loved by the residents of the city, and most would be horrified to realize  she was unintentionally mistreated during most of her stay.

When the city faced severe financial hardship in 1993 and had to close its zoo, the controversy came to a head as those who had grown up with Fanny and those who could see she was suffering battled to determine her fate.

This film recounts the events that led up to the need to have Fanny moved, and the controversy that ensued between the people who fought to keep her and the people who fought to move her. Through archival footage and interviews, the film conveys the love people felt for this gentle animal.
Fanny at Slater Park Zoo (now Daggett Farm)

In recounting Fanny's treatment - both good and bad - during her stay at the zoo, the film raises awareness
about humane treatment of exotic animals, giving the audience an opportunity to reflect and compare Fanny's experience with that of elephants currently in captivity.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS will air How Do You Love An Elephant? on Saturday, May 25 at 7 p.m., as part of Rhode Island Stories, its continuing series of local documentaries featuring Rhode Island people, places, events... or animals.