Victory! Buffalo Zoo Shuts Down Its Frigid Elephant Exhibit

Victory! Buffalo Zoo Shuts Down Its Frigid Elephant Exhibit

We welcome the news that Buffalo Zoo is shutting down its miserable elephant exhibit after appearing five times over the last ten years on our list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants.

Officials announced this week that Asian elephants Jothi and Supara will be moved from Buffalo Zoo to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans this fall. This announcement comes barely two weeks after we submitted requests for the elephants’ most recent medical records to the Buffalo Zoo and the City of Buffalo.

One less miserably freezing zoo exhibit for tropical elephants is a cause for great celebration. But, we continue our work to release them to an accredited elephant sanctuary where they can live as elephants instead of as exhibits.

We have actively and arduously worked to free these elephants from their decrepit, unsuitable zoo conditions for over a decade – with the ultimate goal of their being released to an accredited sanctuary. These two elephants will likely be healthier in the more suitable climate of Audubon Zoo's New Orleans, and no longer be forced to endure Buffalo’s long, hard winters. Video footage captured in Buffalo Zoo's barn reveals the pair swaying on the spot, exhibiting a persistently repetitive motion known as "stereotyped behavior" that indicates intense stress and poor welfare in confined, unnatural environments.

Three Asian elephants at the Bronx Zoo, also in the state of New York, suffer many of the same issues as the Buffalo Zoo elephants. The harsh and unnatural climate causes suffering for all the elephants from the cold every year, with one of them kept cruelly deprived in solitary isolation. Like Buffalo Zoo, the Bronx Zoo has repeatedly been listed on our list of the 10 Worst Zoos, earning itself a place in the Hall of Shame. We call on the Bronx Zoo to have compassion and release the elephants to a sanctuary where they can retire in peace.

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