By Bev Hahler on
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Animal lover and ex-Edmonton Oiler Georges Laraque has pledged his voice, and his wallet, in the campaign to move an isolated elephant to a sanctuary in California. Lucy, a 35-year old Asian elephant, has been at Edmonton Valley Zoo since she was two years old. Critics of the zoo have stated that the cold climate, lack of space, and social isolation have caused Lucy physical and psychological damage manifesting in abnormal behaviors such as rocking back and forth.
“I want to meet with Mayor (Stephen) Mandel when I come down to Edmonton and really talk about what Lucy is going through. This is unethical,” says Laraque in a conversation with the Edmonton Sun.
In a letter sent to Mayor Mandel last week, Laraque stated the case for Lucy and went on to pledge money for Edmonton’s community projects if her transfer went ahead.
“I would like to offer $100,000 towards any of the several city projects – such as the new downtown arena or upgrades to the Edmonton Indy racetrack – that need finding. Zoos cannot begin to fulfill the social and physical needs of these highly intelligent animals.”
Lucy’s chief veterinarian, Dr. Milton Ness, claims that she has health problems that prevent her from traveling. “Lucy has an obstruction in her upper respiratory tract. This leads to a situation where she has to breathe through her mouth. They normally breathe through their trunks. This has caused Lucy to be in respiratory distress for the past six years now.”