Gov. Norm Bangerter can sympathize with those parents who complain that their teenager has the appetite of an elephant. Of course, that's because the governor has a teenager that IS an elephant. The Hogle Zoo's 17-year-old "Toni the Elephant."
Bangerter became a proud parent Thursday when he joined the zoo's "Adopt-A-Wild Child" program which is intended to help the zoo meet the staggering costs of feeding its animals.For varying amounts - ranging from about $20 for small birds to about $2,500 for large animals - Utahns can join the governor.
Bangerter took the occasion to sign a resolution declaring April 9-15 as Week of the Wild Child in Utah and he urged others to get involved. "This is a great facility and this is a great way to help keep it financially viable."
The governor, who is a Republican, said there may have been a small degree of political motivation in selecting the elephant. He said he turned down Utah Democratic Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi's suggestion to adopt a donkey.
Bangerter said he doesn't think Toni will get an invitation to the family reunion. "It would probably be easier to move it to the mountain rather than take the mountain to the reunion," the governor joked.
The zoo has about 1,100 residents to feed and officials are hoping for good public response.