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The Sad State of Captive Elephants in Canada


Last week, Zoocheck Canada released The Sad State of Captive Elephants in Canada, a new report by African elephant biologist Winnie Kiiru. After visiting all seven facilities housing elephants, Ms. Kiiru concluded that elephants in Canadian zoos are suffering, primarily due to lack of space, inappropriate social groupings and an unsuitable climate. According to Kiiru, who has extensive experience studying wild elephants in Kenya, every zoo elephant display in Canada fails to satisfy the biological and behavioural needs of elephants. Kiiru went further and said that the practice of keeping elephants in Canada is unethical, unjustified and should be discontinued. You can check out the report at: http://www.zoocheck.com/programs/zoocheck/Kiiru%20Report.pdf

Ms. Kiiru was particularly concerned about Lucy and Samantha, two elephants at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, because of the zoo's cramped conditions (both inside and outside), northern location and the fact that the elephants are different species. She identified the Valley Zoo as the worst in Canada for elephants.

The Valley Zoo�s outdoor elephant enclosure is grossly undersized and boring. As well, during a significant portion of the year, the climate in Edmonton is too cold for elephants, forcing both of them inside for significant periods of time. In addition, like other Canadian zoos, Lucy and Samantha are locked indoors when the zoo is closed to the public. Between off-hours confinement and periods of cold weather, this means that Lucy and Samantha potentially spend up to 70% or more of their lives indoors.

Both Lucy and Samantha are exhibiting abnormal, stereotypic behaviours, typically a sign of frustration and boredom. As well, Lucy reportedly has arthritis and has been suffering from foot problems. Foot infections are the leading cause of death in captive elephants in North America. Last year, Samantha had the lower portion of her trunk severed when it was caught in a gate latch.

Lucy and Samantha are living abnormal lives of deprivation, boredom, pain and suffering. They need to be moved to a more suitable environment where they can heal and where they can socialize with other elephants in a natural setting. If they stay where they are, like so many other elephants in similar situations before them, they will almost certainly continue to suffer and then die long before they should. The Valley Zoo is a municipally owned and operated zoo, so the City of Edmonton has the authority to determine Lucy and Samantha's fate.

Please support the Zoocheck Canada/Voice for Animals campaign to have Lucy and Samantha relocated to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee as soon as possible and to close the Valley Zoo's elephant exhibit. Edmonton is no place for elephants.

The Elephant Sanctuary is a world-renowned facility that offers its elephants 2,300 acres of natural terrain. It is the best elephant facility in North America and they would welcome Lucy and Samantha. For more info on the Elephant Sanctuary check out www.elephants.com .

Please write to the Mayor and Members of Council, City of Edmonton to let them know that you support moving Lucy and Samantha to The Elephant Sanctuary. E-mails can be sent to all councillors via the City of Edmonton�s website at the following link:

http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/ PTARGS_0_2_360_251_0_43/http%3B/CMSServer/COEWeb/mayor+and+city+council/ message+to+city+council.htm

Please copy your e-mails to julie@zoocheck.com, so that we can be sure that your views do not go unnoticed.

Thank you for helping Lucy and Samantha.

Julie Woodyer

Campaigns Director

Zoocheck Canada


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