Urgent: Natural Bridge Zoo’s Exhibitor’s Permit Should Not Be Renewed!
The Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia will soon be seeking to renew its permit to publicly display animals, including Asha, an elephant held in solitary confinement for over a decade. This facility has a documented history of animal welfare violations and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) will decide whether to renew or deny this permit by November 1. Your voice is needed to urge decision-makers not to renew the Zoo’s permit!
Natural Bridge Zoo, owned by Karl Mogensen, holds hundreds of animals captive in questionable conditions. The Zoo has a disturbing history of federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations dating back as far as 1994, some of which landed the facility on our Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list for five consecutive years.
According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections, Natural Bridge Zoo has at times failed to provide adequate shelter from natural elements such as rain and did not adequately clean and sanitize animal enclosures. The inspections also indicate the Zoo failed to provide adequate space, prepare animal feed in a sanitary manner, and separate animals who are incompatible with each other.
37-year-old Asha hasn’t had the company of another elephant for over a decade. At two years old, she was captured from the wild and sold to Natural Bridge Zoo in 1985, where she has been forced to give rides to tourists and live in the isolating confines of captivity ever since. She is just one example of the unacceptable treatment this Zoo perpetuates onto its many captives.
In 2015, the Zoo’s exhibitor’s permit was suspended by the DGIF following an investigation by the USDA. This investigation revealed a staggering 44 separate violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Since then, there have been at least five USDA inspection reports that have shown noncompliance with the AWA including repeat violations.
In Defense of Animals has teamed up with Free All Captive Elephants to place a billboard near the DGIF offices in Richmond, Virginia, asking the Department to reconsider renewing the Zoo’s permit, but we need your help to succeed.
What You Can Do
Please contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to urge its key decision makers not to renew the Natural Bridge Zoo’s exhibitors permit.
1. Call Randall T. Francis, Permit Manager of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries: (804) 367-1000 during EST business hours. Press 8 to speak to an agent. Ask to speak with or leave a message for Randall T. Francis, the Permit Manager. Politely tell him that you are concerned about the conditions at Natural Bridge Zoo, and you believe the permit should not be renewed at this time.
2. Send our letter to Randall T. Francis, Permit Manager, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries by filling out the form on this page.