Edmonton Zoo Shamed in Worst Zoos List

Edmonton Zoo Shamed in Worst Zoos List



Contact: Contact: Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., [email protected], (805) 836-0496

Edmonton Zoo Shamed in Worst Zoos List


Edmonton, Alberta (Jan 12, 2016) – International animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, today released its annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America, with Edmonton Zoo in Alberta, Canada scooping the shameful Dishonorable Mention Award.

Edmonton Zoo earned the Dishonorable Mention for the intolerably grave, chilling, and lonely life that continues to be inflicted upon Lucy the Asian elephant. She languishes in solitary confinement in a frigid prison in one of the coldest cities in Canada, far away from her natural tropical environment. As last year’s Hall of Shame winner, Edmonton Zoo has not much changed for this elephant.

Now in its twelfth year, In Defense of Animals’ respected list exposes the cruelty behind keeping the Earth’s largest land mammal captive in small, inadequate zoo exhibits that cause a lifetime of misery and lead to premature death.

“Poor Lucy spends most of her time alone in her barn or in the snow with no other elephants with whom to fight off the chronic chill of her captivity” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “We call on Edmonton Zoo to warm up their hearts and send Lucy south to a sanctuary where she may breathe easy again and be with her own kind.”

Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals said, “Evidence shows that elephants are not thriving or self-sustaining in zoos. Urgent action must be taken to stop greedy corporations from plundering elephants from the wild so they can restock elephants dying out in zoo displays faster than they can reproduce. If you want to help protect elephants, don’t visit zoos and instead help support real conservation efforts that keep animals in the wild where they belong.”

Since being inducted to the Hall of Shame last year, Edmonton Zoo has not improved life for solitary elephant, Lucy. She suffers from foot disease, arthritis, and an undiagnosed respiratory condition that is causing a narrowing of the airway passages in her trunk. This lonely elephant now apparently wheezes when she breathes, forcing her to breathe only through her mouth, which, according to the vet that examined her, is “totally abnormal” for an elephant. But captivity is also totally abnormal for elephants – especially for an Asian elephant designed by evolution for a tropical climate, but forced to breathe sub-zero air for six months of the year.

This year, Lucy was even deprived of a waterproof insulated winter coat that was generously donated by concerned elephants activists to warm her up on her short snow-covered walks around her prison yard, accompanied by her keeper with his nasty bullhook in tow. He wears a winter coat and gloves of course, to warm himself. Elephant sanctuaries have offered to give Lucy a chance to defrost and live her life in comfort, but the zoo will not grant this, claiming that she could have a respiratory crisis from the stress of relocation. The only solution to Lucy’s respiratory challenges might actually rely on her being relocated to a warmer environment.

1 Dallas Zoo, Tex., Henry Doorly Zoo, Neb., and Sedgwick County Zoo, Kan.
2 Natural Bridge Zoo, Vir.
3 Oklahoma City Zoo, Okla.
4 Wildlife Safari, Ore.
5 Buttonwood Park Zoo, Mass.
6 San Antonio Zoo, Tex.
7 Oregon Zoo, Ore.
8 Monterey Zoo, Calif.
9 Buffalo Zoo, N.Y.
10 Southwick’s Zoo, Mass.

Bronx Zoo, NY

Edmonton Zoo, Alberta, Canada

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Images of the elephants:

Closed or closing elephant exhibits:

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In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

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