BREAKING NEWS: In Defense of Animals Celebrates Closing of “Worst Zoo” Elephant Exhibit in South Carolina
In Defense of Animals Celebrates Closing of “Worst Zoo” Elephant Exhibit in South Carolina
The Announcement Came A Day Before World Day for the Protection of Elephants in Zoos
Columbia, SC (June 20, 2019) – In Defense of Animals has welcomed an announcement issued yesterday by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina, that it will be closing its elephant exhibit. In 2017, the facility was listed on the annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants following the death of two elephants. The news came one day before World Day for the Protection of Elephants in Zoos, which takes place on June 20 each year.
In Defense of Animals featured Riverbanks Zoo as the number 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America on its list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in 2017 after two elephants died within six months of one another. Petunia was euthanized at age 44 in December of 2016 after she was found in her exhibit unable to stand. A second elephant, 37-year-old Penny, died at the zoo in May 2017.
Two elephants remain at Riverbanks Zoo, Belle and Robin. They will be sent elsewhere, though the new location has reportedly not been decided. In Defense of Animals is calling for the elephants to be retired to a sanctuary.
“We are overjoyed that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has finally acknowledged that its elephant exhibit isn’t suitable for remaining elephants Belle and Robin,” said Marilyn Kroplick M.D., President of In Defense of Animals. “When two relatively young elephants die within six months of each other, there is clearly a problem. Riverbanks Zoo is making the right decision to close its elephant exhibit, and we urge the Zoo to send Belle and Robin to an accredited sanctuary where they can enjoy peace, privacy and a more natural environment than zoos can provide.”
“This is a victory for elephants and for members of the public who have become aware that captive facilities are no place for wild animals. We hope that other zoos take note of the Riverbanks Zoo decision to find a better social environment for its elephants,” added Laura Bridgeman, Director of In Defense of Animals’ elephant campaign. “We urge Riverbanks Zoo and Garden to announce the permanent closure of its elephant exhibit and permanently abandon any plans to breed elephants in the future.”
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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters and a 36-year history of protecting animals’ rights, welfare and habitats through education, campaigns and hands-on rescue facilities in India, South Korea, and rural Mississippi. www.idausa.org