UPDATE: Lonely Lucy Is Denied Her Ticket to Freedom

UPDATE: Lonely Lucy Is Denied Her Ticket to Freedom

Edmonton Valley Zoo released the results of the independent veterinary exams of 47-year-old Lucy conducted in 2022. While two of the three reports conclude that Lucy should be moved to sanctuary, the zoo decided to go with the third report that claims she should stay at the zoo. This decision is also the recommendation by Free the Wild, the organization that sponsored the veterinary exams.


Disagreements on Lucy's health

Dr. Patricia London's report following her highly detailed exam provides information that contradicts some of the other assessments and highlights many problems with Lucy’s care and living situation. For instance, she did not find that Lucy had any respiratory distress, and she further stated, “I do believe she should be moved for her health and welfare.”

Dr. London also responded to Lucy's lack of freedom to do as she chooses, writing, “Lucy is being kept more like a pet and not being allowed to be the wild elephant she is. She is not being provided with the autonomy, space, socialization opportunities, or natural environment conditions she requires for her physical and psychological health.”

"The forced walks on the snow and ice in -15C weather borders on absurd."

Dr. Ingo Schmidinger also concluded there is no reason she can’t be moved.

It was also discovered that Lucy has a large uterine tumor (leiomyoma), which is quite common in female elephants who have never given birth. Lucy is now being treated for this tumor, but the vets expressed surprise that it had not been discovered during previous exams.


Lucy's Living Conditions Must Be Improved

All of the vets agreed that Lucy's living conditions need to be dramatically improved. These changes include installing an air filtration system, adding access to clean water for drinking and bathing, a larger temperature-controlled enclosure for Lucy, a diet to address her obesity, and the adoption of protected contact to allow Lucy more autonomy to choose how she spends her days.

The zoo has said it has started to adopt these improvements and Free the Wild pledged to monitor the situation to see if they are implemented and if Lucy's health improves.


Our Fight to Free Lucy Continues

In 2021, In Defense of Animals shamed Edmonton Valley Zoo as #1 Worst Zoo for Elephants in North America for causing Lucy brain damage in a frozen elephant prison for one.

We have joined with many of Lucy's supporters around the world to urge the Edmonton Valley Zoo to send Lucy to sanctuary as soon as possible. That way Lucy can begin to heal from her decades of confinement in a frigid, cramped zoo. 45 years is enough.

It is time for Lucy to live as freely as possible in a warm and spacious sanctuary, where she can experience for the first time since her capture at 2 years old, what it's like to be a real elephant.

What You Can Do

You can help by signing and sharing our alert urging the Edmonton Valley Zoo to send Lucy to an accredited sanctuary. 

For updates on Lucy and more information on how to help elephants like her, visit our Elephants campaign.

You can support our work by donating