Edmonton is no place for an elephant, but sadly, an Asian elephant has suffered in the city for over 40 years.
Her name is Lucy, and in 1977, she was captured at the age of two from the tropical forests of Sri Lanka. Lucy has been forced to live behind bars at the Edmonton Valley Zoo ever since.
Lucy is one of the loneliest elephants on the planet. Elephants are highly social animals, but Lucy has never been with another Asian elephant, and has lived completely alone in her enclosure for over a decade. It’s no surprise that the Edmonton Valley Zoo is at the top of the list of the World’s Worst Zoos for Elephants.
In the wild, Asian elephants walk long distances and spend more than two thirds of each day feeding on grasses. Lucy’s enclosure is barren and made of concrete, with little to no stimulation. During the Edmonton winters, her environment is frigid—vastly different from the forests from which she was kidnapped as a baby.
Along with the immense sadness Lucy must be feeling, she has a multitude of physical health problems as well, which have been either caused or exacerbated by her unnatural confinement.
Her situation has resulted in Lucy becoming 1,000 pounds overweight. She also has arthritis, foot disease, dental problems, and has suffered from colic issues, which has caused her to collapse and be seen lying down and hitting her stomach with her trunk.
No one deserves the cruelty that Lucy has experienced.
The Fight to Save Lucy
Animal advocates and animal protection groups like Zoocheck have been fighting for over a decade to help Lucy, including by filing high-profile lawsuits. These legal efforts unfortunately were unsuccessful.
At this time, it’s unclear if it would still be safe for Lucy to be transferred elsewhere given her age and poor health. The Edmonton Valley Zoo says it’s too risky to move Lucy because of her health conditions—which is tragic, because had the Zoo been willing to move her sooner, she could have enjoyed life at a sanctuary. But groups are still calling for an assessment by an independent veterinary expert.
Help Captive Elephants & Other Animals
The Jane Goodall Act, which is currently working its way through the legislative process, would protect hundreds of wild and exotic species from being held in captivity in Canada—including elephants.
Please support this important legislation and help move Canada forward in the protection of captive animals.
Let’s ensure that no more elephants will have to endure the loneliness and isolation that Lucy has suffered for so long.
Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | ZOOCHECK