Today as I was editing (clumsily) some videos my husband took of a herd of elephants we saw in South Africa, I marveled all over again how magnificent elephants are. I was spellbound watching them as they moved silently through the forest.
So tonight when I saw a topic trending on Twitter: #FreeLucyElephant I had to click on it.
I saw this very sad photo of an elephant that has been living almost entirely alone for all of her 35 years in cold Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with little room to roam. The fight to get Lucy moved to a sanctuary has been going on for a long while.
Lucy is a 35-year old female Asian elephant living alone at the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, Canada.
All female elephants have basic physical, psychological and social requirements. They require very large spaces, complex natural terrain, pasture, lots of things to do, other elephants to socialize with and a moderate climate.
Lucy’s life at the Valley Zoo is deficient in many respects. She is socially isolated, lives in a tiny barren enclosure, endures a number of ongoing health issues that the zoo has not been able to resolve and is forced to live through Edmonton’s cold winters.
The Valley Zoo claims Lucy cannot be moved, that she is not a social elephant, is accustomed to Edmonton’s weather and is quite happy where she is. Many of their claims are nonsensical and some ignore established scientific fact. As well, Lucy’s continued social isolation is contrary to accepted management practices for elephants in captivity around the world.
While the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton try to paint a rosy, almost idyllic, picture of Lucy’s life, the reality is quite different. A highly social, extremely intelligent, wide-ranging animal that was born in the tropical forests of Sri Lanka should not live alone in a tiny, barren zoo exhibit in a northern city.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, will take Lucy at no charge to the Edmonton Zoo.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.