Oakland's Newest Crime Target: Elephants

Residents go after Oakland Zoo for cutting down public trees

By Sajid Farooq
|  Friday, Jan 15, 2010  |  Updated 11:18 AM PDT
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Adorable Zoo Babies: Twin Polar Bear Cubs

KQEDquest on Flickr

An elephant and a trainer at the Oakland Zoo. Photo: KQEDquest on Flickr

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No one is immune from Oakland's desire to cut down on crime. Not even elephants.

A group of irate residents living near the Oakland Zoo are tired of their neighbors stealing from the community without asking.

It seems elephants at the zoo have developed a taste for the neighborhood's black acacia trees but the problem is the trees don't belong to the zoo. Some of them belong to a city park.

It's not the elephants' fault, though. Zookeepers actually cut down the trees for seven years -- many of those years they had permission from the Navy, who used to run the site. But, later they didn't know they needed permission.

The zoo is offering to plant 50 native oak trees but that is not good enough for some residents.

"The trees don't belong to them. It's theft," Don Mitchell of the Sequoyah Hills/Oak Knoll Neighborhood Association told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If I had gone to King Estates and chopped down 10 trees, I'd be arrested and prosecuted."

Maybe they should try to put the elephants behind bars.

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