Six-Year-Old Lily the Elephant Dies at Oregon Zoo
Another elephant, the youngest of the herd, recently died at the Oregon Zoo, a facility notorious for consistently placing profits above the well-being of elephants.
Lily, a sweet young elephant who didn’t deserve to be born into a life of captivity, tragically passed away just one day before her sixth birthday, reportedly due to complications from a strain of herpes virus.
Lily was a product of the Oregon Zoo’s aggressive breeding program. Her father, Tusko, was a wild-caught Asian elephant who arrived at the zoo on a breeding loan from Have Trunk Will Travel, a shameful elephant rental company notorious for abusing elephants. It was reported that Rose-Tu, the Asian elephant who is Lily’s mother, was brutally beaten by her keeper when she was five years old.
Upon Lily’s birth, it was discovered that the Oregon Zoo had already sold the infant to Have Trunk Will Travel, intending to separate the newborn from her mother forever. In response to intense and righteous public backlash, the Zoo later pledged to keep the two together. Sadly, Rose-Tu is now forced to endure the immeasurable grief of her child’s death, all from within the confines of a cage.
This broken family history is sadly typical of captive elephants everywhere.
Lily was the fourth elephant to die at the Oregon Zoo in the last three years alone. This track record, in addition to its cruel breeding program and the continued use of bullhooks, has landed this zoo on our Ten Worst Zoos list eight times. Unless things change dramatically, it is likely to appear again.