Help Lucy The Elephant Escape Solitary Confinement And Find New Life At A Sanctuary

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Originally Posted: 29 March 2011

Help Lucy The Elephant Escape Solitary Confinement And Find New Life At A Sanctuary

FROM  In Defense of Animals (IDA)


Tell the City of Edmonton Alberta to release Lucy from her sad, solitary life and release her to a sanctuary where she can live the rest of her life with other elephants, in the open air.

Petition: Send Lucy to the Elephant Sanctuary

And/Or make direct contact:

Mayor Stephen Mandel and the Edmonton City Council
City of Edmonton
City Hall, Second Floor
1 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.
Edmonton, AB
T5J 2R7
phone (780) 496-8100
fax (780) 496-8292

Email the mayor at:

Email the council members at:


Solitary confinement is torture for an animal as intensely social as an elephant. Yet the Valley Zoo in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is resisting calls to send its lonely elephant, Lucy, to a natural-habitat sanctuary. She needs your help now!

Lucy is a 34-year-old Asian elephant who was captured from the wilds of Sri Lanka and, at only age two, shipped to the Valley Zoo, where she was mainly kept alone for the next 12 years. She suffers both physically and psychologically due to the horribly inadequate conditions at the Valley Zoo, including cruel social isolation, lack of space, cold hard surfaces that damage elephants’ feet and joints, and a frigid climate that forces Lucy indoors for at least five months out of the year.

The Valley Zoo was identified in a 2007 report by elephant biologist Winnie Kiiru as the worst facility for elephants in Canada. In her report she stated:

“The climate in Edmonton is completely inappropriate for elephants. The cold climate, with the zoo's lock-in policy, results in the elephants being locked inside the barn for most of their lives and they are showing physical ailments as a result. In addition, the stereotypic behavior exhibited by Lucy and Samantha are typical of stressed elephants in zoos. I recommend that the City of Edmonton take immediate action to move Lucy and Samantha to a sanctuary that can provide them with a more appropriate physical and social environment and to close the elephant exhibit at this zoo.”

In fact, conditions at the zoo worsened for Lucy since Ms. Kiiru’s visit. She was again left alone in 2007 when her companion, Samantha, was shipped to the North Carolina Zoo for breeding. Elephants are not meant to live in isolation, especially the highly social females who, in the wild, remain with their extended family for life.

Lucy’s cruel captivity has resulted in a lifetime of painful chronic foot disease, arthritis, respiratory problems and psychological distress in the form of repetitive swaying and rocking. The Valley Zoo has claimed that Lucy’s ill health means she cannot be transported, but then contradicted itself by saying these problems are under control and that Lucy is fine where she is.

The truth is that Lucy must leave the Valley Zoo now if she is to survive. And the pressure on the Zoo and City of Edmonton is mounting.

Last month, an Edmonton-based veterinarian and zoologist, Debi Zimmerman, released a report titled One Veterinarian’s Search for Truth in the “Lucy the Elephant” Debate, presenting a solid, fact-based argument for moving Lucy to a sanctuary. In May 2009, 36 prominent Canadian authors, including Margaret Atwood and Barbara Gowdy, wrote to Edmonton’s Mayor and City Council and asked them to intervene by facilitating an independent expert assessment of Lucy’s health and her transfer to a more suitable facility. Even legendary television game-show host Bob Barker has joined the fight to save Lucy’s life.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!