WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News dug deeper as the public voices their opinion on the removal of the elephant from the Commerford Zoo exhibit at the Big E.
Minnie the elephant became a flash-point of controversy last year as fair-goers feared for her safety and health at the riding exhibit.
This year, Beulah was supposed to be the elephant at the fair, but less than one week in she has been removed.
This year, the elephant exhibit was supposed to be at the Big E through the Commerford Zoo said no rides would be given to fair-goers.
However, now, the animal is completely gone leaving some attendees disappointed and wondering why.
Robbie Johnson said he couldn’t wait to bring his 2-year-old daughter, Ellie to see something about 15 times her size.
"Just such a big animal that no one gets to see with all the fairs no longer carrying them. It was kind of the last place I could see it," Johnson explained.
And though the elephant is a central part of the Commerford Zoo’s marketing the image stamped on tents, benches, and trucks, the actual animal is nowhere to be found in their exhibit.
"It’s kind of sad. It was one of my favorite things when I was coming to the big e when I was little I was hoping to get her to see it thankfully they didn’t get rid of the camels," Johnson noted.
Western Mass News tried asking the Commerford employees why they chose to remove the elephant and we were directed to a manager who refused to comment on or off the record.
We also reached out to the Commerford's over the phone and they did not return our calls.
But not every fair-goer, like Nina Perugini is upset that the elephant is gone.
"I think it’s really good I think it’s a step in the right direction," Perugini said.
Perugini said she went so far as to steer her family away from the elephant exhibits at fairs past to keep her children from even seeing them in captivity.
"It’s not what they’re meant for. There’s so much information out there and so many ways you can teach your kids about these animals without having to ride them or exploit them for our entertainment," Perugini noted.
The Big E is not commenting on the issue, as they say they haven't received any complaints about the Commerford’s exhibit.