Have Trunk Will Travel elephants will not return to fair in Del Mar

Have Trunk Will Travel, the organization that provided elephants for display, education and rides at the San Diego County Fair, announced March 27 that it will not be returning to the 2014 San Diego County Fair. This follows a successful engagement at the 2013 San Diego County Fair, including the San Diego community donating over $5,000 toward Asian elephant conservation and embracing the “Save A Species — Ride An Elephant” campaign.

For the past 30 years Have Trunk Will Travel has been a part of the San Diego County Fair, providing an opportunity to see and learn about the plight of the endangered Asian elephants. Kari and Gary Johnson of Have Trunk Will Travel informed the 22nd District Agricultural Association of their decision March 27.

“We were surprised at the news we received from the Johnsons not to return to the Fair this year, but respect their decision,” said Frederick Schenk, president of the 22nd District Agricultural Association. “Having the elephants at the Fair has been a valuable tool in educating the public on the plight of the Asian elephant, which includes the threat of extinction because of the ongoing destruction of their native habitat, slaughter and the deadly herpes virus that kills baby elephants.

“Have Truck Will Travel has an unprecedented conservation program, and an exceptional reputation in the industry. While the presence of the elephants has drawn controversy and criticism from those who oppose elephant rides, this decision will mean that the over 1.5 million visitors to the annual Fair will no longer have the opportunity to appreciate and experience these magnificent gentle creatures at the Fairgrounds.”

For more information on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, visit

— Submitted press release