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This article was forwarded to us by Michael Shonfield at Channel G.
It was originally printed in Voice Of Animals, Edmonton, Alberta CANADA.
Michael says, "We're working on a film for this":
UPDATE - EDMONTON ELEPHANT CAMPAIGN
This past winter, a number of zoo visitors reported that Lucy's conditions
at the Valley Zoo remained the same and that the enrichment that was
supposed to be keeping Lucy active and engaged was not in evidence. Zoocheck
and Voice for Animals continue to highlight the plight of Lucy and are
gearing up for a renewed push to convince the zoo to let her go to a better,
more elephant-friendly facility elsewhere.
In 2006, on Zoocheck Canada's behalf, Kenyan elephant biologist Winnie Kiiru
conducted an inspection of all elephant facilities in Canadian zoos. While
Ms. Kiiru reported that all of the elephants she observed were living in
conditions that failed to satisfy a full range of their biological and
behavioural needs, she identified Lucy and Samantha at the Edmonton Valley
Zoo as being in the most problematic situation. Her conclusion was based on
the fact that Edmonton's climate is unsuitable for elephants, their social
environment was entirely inappropriate, there was insufficient space for the
elephants to express natural movements and behaviours and their physical
state appeared poor.
Upon receiving Ms. Kiiru's completed report, Zoocheck initiated a campaign,
in association with Edmonton's Voice for Animals, aimed at bringing the plight
of Lucy and Samantha to public attention and to convince the zoo to transfer
both elephants to an elephant sanctuary in the United States.
During this campaign, medical records were obtained from the zoo through the
Freedom of Information process. Lucy, the female Asian elephant captured in
Sri Lanka in 1975 and probably born that same year, was found to be
suffering from chronic arthritis and foot problems (a leading cause of death
in zoo elephants). Zoocheck's observations also revealed that she was
lethargic and exhibiting pronounced stereotypic behaviours, such as swaying
and rocking, typically a sign of frustration, boredom and stress.
Samantha, the zoo's female African elephant who was wild caught in Zimbabwe
had an estimated birth year of 1988. She also exhibits stereotypic
behaviours and in 2006 had the end of her trunk ripped off when she got it
caught in an enclosure gate latch.
After reviewing the 2005-2006 Environment Canada climate records for
Edmonton, we estimated that Lucy and Samantha were locked indoors more than
75% of the time. This estimate is based on the zoo's own policy of only
allowing the elephants outdoors when the temperature rises above 10 degrees C
and the fact that the elephants are kept indoors during non-visitor hours.
As the campaign moved forward, Lucy and Samantha's story increasingly
generated both public and media interest. A letter writing campaign to the
City of Edmonton council was initiated and, to date, hundreds of people have
contacted Council urging them to move the two elephants to the Elephant
Sanctuary in Tennessee and to permanently end the keeping of elephants at
the Valley Zoo. Since the zoo is municipally owned and operated, Council has
the ability to determine the future of the elephants.
In April 2007, Zoocheck and Voice for Animals conducted a two day
behavioural study of Lucy and Samantha. Using a behavioural checklist, the
study found both elephants spent the vast majority of their time standing.
Lucy remained relatively inactive and stationary, except for a one period in
which zoo staff walked her through the zoo grounds.
During the observation period Samantha made many attempts to socialize with
Lucy to no avail. It is likely they are not effectively communicating with
each other because they are different species of elephants.
Representatives of Zoocheck and Voice for Animals met with a number of City
of Edmonton councilors, as well as other residents of Edmonton, to discuss
concerns about Lucy and Samantha. Those talks are ongoing.
In the spring of 2007, the Valley Zoo announced that they will be sending
Samantha to the North Carolina Zoo on a breeding loan. She may be away for 5
years or more. Samantha left the zoo by truck on Tuesday September 25th.
According to the Valley Zoo, Lucy is fine where she is. This is contrary to
national and international zoo association recommendations which state that
elephants should never be kept alone. The zoo claims that it would be
dangerous to move Lucy and that she receives the social stimulation she
requires from her keepers. However, the zoo doesn't acknowledge that her
physical and social environment is extremely poor and that Lucy's chronic
health problems are a result of her living conditions. If she stays where
she is, in all likelihood, Lucy will not survive over the long term.
Please let your human voices be heard. Write to the zoos in question and demand
humane conditions for these poor incarcerated elephants. Demand that they be
transferred to zoos which are able to keep them happy and healthy. Last year
we were able to get Maggie, who was in grave danger, in a zoo in Anchorage, Alaska,
moved to P.A.W.S.
Michael says, "Maggie is doing great . . . all the basically traumatized and renegade
elephants at P.A.W.S. seem to have formed their own social group and Maggie is
doing great . . . (Performing Animal Welfare Society)
Maggie Moved to PAWS Sanctuary! Will Lucy's Story Have a Happy Ending Too? | Voice 4 Animals
"Voice For Animals in Edmonton, Alberta is leading the way for Lucy to get to a sanctuary . . .
exact paradigm/situation as Maggie in Anchorage; i.e, we love Lucy, we take great care of her, the kids love her, etc.
same mass awakening that actually happened in Anchorage can happen here.....imagine winter for Lucy!
How come the residents of that city don’t see it? What happened to people along the way? . . ."