Following the untimely death of beautiful elephant, Alport, the San Antonio Zoo has been sending the same reply to everyone who has contacted them regarding the future of the sole remaining elephant, Lucky:
"THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONCERN. WE ASSURE YOU THAT THE SAN ANTONIO ZOO WILL ALWAYS DO WHAT IS BEST FOR ELEPHANTS!"
If this is indeed true, then the zoo must certainly wish the best for Lucky. They should arrange for release from her zoo prison and arrange for her to be sent to an elephant sanctuary. Compare the photos at the top. The one on the left, is the drab, barren, lifeless enclosure at the San Antonio Zoo. On the right, a portion of the green, natural, 2400 acre habitat at The Elephant Sactuary devoted to Asian elephants. The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee has already agreed to accept Lucky and pay for transporting her, all AT NO COST TO THE S.A. ZOO.
Despite the small size of the enclosure, director Steve McCuster is already planning on purchasing 2 additional elephants!
No matter how well-intentioned zoo officials may be, a zoo just cannot provide adequate space and habitat to accommodate the needs of an animal the size of an elephant. We are asking that the S.A.Zoo follow the lead of other progressive zoos around the country and close the elephant exhibit forever!
The reported cause of death for Alport was an orthopedic tear. Now, Lucky is having foot problems as well. Look at these photos taken by Don Elroy of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, May, 2008.
Compare for yourself- this is Alport and a wild female of similar age
WOAI news coverage April 28, 2008
KSAT 12 news coverage (keyword: elephant debate, over 30 days) March 20, 2008
FREE LUCKY! Rally KENS 5 news coverage January 19, 2008
VOICE has been working together with Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and In Defense of Animals to try to persuade the zoo to retire Lucky to the sanctuary.
Read IDA's letter to Steve McCusker, Executive Director of the San Antonio Zoo. VOICE for Animals has been in contact with San Antonio Zoo director Steve McCusker who claims that moving Lucky would be too traumatic; yet many other elephants in circumstances very similar to Lucky's have successfully been transferred to the sanctuary and are now enjoying elephant companionship in a natural habitat. Now, by his own admission, McCusker has stated that he will be moving any Asian elephants out of the zoo when he begins his African elephant exhibit! Hear for yourself.
We understand that elephants are popular animals and attract visitors and their dollars; but after 45 years in this enclosure, doesn't Lucky deserve to spend some of her remaining years in the environment she was meant for? Lucky needs your help. Contact the zoo and city officials and ask for her release!
The San Antonio Zoo recently was re-accredited by the American Zoological Association despite being in violation of several key AZA recommendations for the care of elephants.
According to the AZA Accreditation Standards Policy, "Institutions which include elephants in their collection must follow the AZA Standards For Elephant Management And Care."
The SA Zoo has been in violation of these and other AZA standards. Lucky is living alone in a barren enclosure, her only source of water is a filthy algae-filled pool. Her companion, Alport, was an African elephant and should not have been living with Lucky, an Asian.
According to news reports, Alport died just days after she was observed having difficulty standing and was later diagnosed with an "orthopedic tear." Despite the fact that female elephants in the wild normally remain with their mothers for life and travel vast distances, both Alport and Lucky were taken from the wild as babies and spent their entire lives in cramped zoo exhibits. At a sanctuary, Lucky would have hundreds of acres of natural habitat to roam, ponds to bathe in, fresh vegetation and foraging opportunities, and the company of many other elephants.
PETA points out that since 1991, 14 U.S. zoos have closed their elephant exhibits (or announced plans to phase them out), citing their inability to meet the significant needs of these complex animals. Life in captivity is killing elephants of all ages. Since 2000, more than half of the 56 elephants who have died at facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums never reached the age of 40. A typical lifespan for elephants in the wild is approximately 70 years.
"Any exhibit provided by a zoo is miniscule by elephants' standards and cannot possibly meet their complex physical and psychological needs," says PETA captive exotic animal specialist Lisa Wathne. "We hope that Alport's death is a wake-up call for the San Antonio Zoo to retire Lucky to a sanctuary before it's too late for her too."
For more information, please visit PETA's Web site. SaveWildElephants.com
Send a message requesting that Lucky be retired!
San Antonio Zoo
Phone (210) 734-7184
Press # 62287537# for zoo director Steve McCusker
Head of Zoo board, Gilbert Vasquez
Marketing and Public Relations
Mayor of San Antonio,
P.O. Box 839966
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