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Urgent Opportunity to Free Bronx Zoo Elephants

Urgent Opportunity to Free Bronx Zoo Elephants

Happy and Patty are the last two elephants at the Bronx Zoo, forced to live in heartbreaking social isolation. Pressure on the Zoo is now reaching a fever pitch, as politicians join the conversation about Happy and Patty’s fate. Now is the time to insist that the Bronx Zoo do the right thing and send Happy and Patty to a sanctuary! 

While Patty at least had the company one other elephant companion—Maxine, who was euthanized last November—Happy has been alone since 2006. The Bronx Zoo refuses to follow even the minimal requirements set by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that there be at least three elephants living together. The Bronx Zoo elephants share a little over an acre of outdoor space, and are forced to take turns using this space, but only when the weather allows. Sadly, however, most of their time is spent confined indoors. 

These living conditions are cruel and unnatural for the elephants. Happy and Patty are denied basic social and physical needs which are absolutely essential to elephant wellbeing. These are among the reasons the Bronx Zoo has earned a place on In Defense of Animals' Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America several times, and was the #1 Worst Zoo in 2018.  

Now, prominent politicians are speaking up for these elephants. Corey Johnson, Speaker for the New York City Council, highlighted the plight of Happy and Patty in a statement released on July 7 2019, which reads: 

“I urge the Bronx Zoo, which first planned to close the elephant exhibit back in 2006, to finally transfer Happy and Patty to one of two recommended sanctuaries.”

In June, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Congresswoman for the Bronx & Queens, tweeted, “Thanks for bringing Happy’s situation to my attention! The team and I are looking into what we can do.”

Happy and Patty need all the help they can get. The Bronx Zoo is managed on behalf of New York City by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) that oversees over a billion dollars in assets. The NYC Mayor and all five NYC Borough Presidents sit on the board of WCS and control tax dollars that are given to the Bronx Zoo. So far, they have refused to free Happy and Patty, but as more people speak out for these elephants, the more likely a sanctuary will be in their future. 

What You Can Do: 

Tell New York City decision-makers to intervene and get Happy and Patty out of New York City and into the spacious forest of an accredited sanctuary to live freely for the first time since their captures from the wild.


1: Make some calls.


Call the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: 212-639-9675

Press 1 for English or stay on the line for other languages. 

When prompted, say, “Speak to 311 Representative.”

Leave a polite message for Mayor de Blasio asking him to send elephants Happy and Patty to a sanctuary. 

Then, please call as many of the other key decision-makers as you can: 

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.: (718) 590-3557

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams: (718) 802 3700 

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: 212-669-8300

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz: (718) 286-3000 

Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo: 718-816-2000 

New York City Council Member Ritchie Torres: 718-842-8100


2: Send our letter.

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