A Christian group is calling for the removal of an elephant statue, modelled after a Hindu god, from the Calgary Zoo, calling it "selective religious partiality."
A three metre-tall statue of a dancing elephant was donated to the zoo for the opening of its Elephant Crossing exhibit in 2006.
It was commissioned to look like Ganesh, a Hindu god worshipped as a remover of obstacles. But Laurie Herron, a Calgary Zoo spokeswoman, said all religious symbolism on the statue was omitted before it was allowed to be displayed.
Jim Blake, national chair of Concerned Christians Canada, sent a letter to the zoo on Thursday, calling for the sculpture to be removed.
"The zoo is not a place of religious indoctrination, it is supposed to be a safe family environment free of religious icons and selective religious partiality," Blake wrote.
"The displaying of different gods in a public place like this is an offence to our beliefs and does not represent the diversity of views that should be reflected."
If the zoo wants to keep the statue and "[embark] on teaching the public about world religions, Blake suggested that the facility also erect the cross of Jesus Christ, the Ten Commandments and Noah's Ark
"The display of foreign gods is offensive and does not reflect the views of the majority of Canadians," he continued.
Reached by CBC News late on Thursday, Herron told CBC News she and the zoo's board of directors had not yet seen Blake's letter.
But she said the statue, given to the zoo by a private donor, was intended to reflect the cultural symbol of elephants, and not any religious icon.