October 8th, 2013 by Nicole Meyer
Urge Niabi Zoo to Retire Elephants Sophie and Babe to a Sanctuary
The Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois, recently made the commendable decision to relocate two female Asian elephants—Sophie and Babe—to another facility that can better meet their needs. IDA and our supporters have long urged the zoo and the Rock Island County board to send the elephants to a facility that offers a more suitable climate, ample space, excellent veterinary care, and the companionship of other elephants. The zoo has reportedly narrowed down a search to three facilities and has stated that the elephants will be moved by winter.
Sophie and Babe must be moved to a facility that offers dramatically improved conditions—not more of the same. At ages 43 and 37, both elephants have chronic health problems exacerbated by the zoo’s tiny enclosure and long, cold winters that have kept the elephants confined in their cramped barn, sometimes for 24 hours a day. Sophie’s health is especially bad—she suffers from arthritis, painful foot abscesses, and pressure sores. The elephants’ health will only continue to worsen if conditions for them aren’t significantly improved.
Please take a moment to write to the Niabi Zoo’s director and the director of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District. Please keep your comments brief and polite and thank them for recognizing that Sophie and Babe need improved care and better conditions. Please encourage them to consider retiring Sophie and Babe to a sanctuary in a warmer climate where they would greatly benefit from round-the-clock veterinary care, room to exercise, and the companionship of other elephants. Also, please point out that it is important the elephants stay together, since they are closely bonded.
Jeff Craver, Director, Rock Island County Forest Preserve District
Marc Heinzman, Director, Niabi Zoo
Thank you for taking action.