Take Action: Demand that the AZA Help Lucky the Elephant
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It’s been just over a month since the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) granted the San Antonio Zoo an exemption from industry standards, condemning an elephant named Lucky to life in solitary confinement. Lucky has been alone since March, when the zoo’s other elephant, Queenie (Boo), died.
The AZA—an industry organization created by zoos for zoos—ignored pleas from IDA and thousands of supporters to deny the variance and to instead work with the San Antonio Zoo to place Lucky at a facility that could offer her room to roam and the companionship of other elephants. Now, with the AZA’s complicity, 53-year-old Lucky will likely be alone until she dies—a cruel sentence for any elephant, as they are profoundly social animals.
The president of the AZA disregarded our appeal on Lucky’s behalf, so now we’re asking you to put pressure on Executive Director Kristin Vehrs and the entire AZA Accreditation Commission. At a recent meeting addressing the controversy involving the elephants held by the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Vehrs stated that AZA standards for elephants were drafted with the “recognition that these are social animals, herd animals and they do better in a composition of three or more.”
It is astonishing and reprehensible that the executive director of an organization that sets “standards” for zoo elephant care will on one hand acknowledge the social needs of elephants, yet still sanction the solitary confinement of Lucky at the San Antonio Zoo. Clearly, AZA standards, which state that elephants should be kept in groups of three, are flexible and apparently meant to be broken. Lucky is now the only known elephant living in solitary confinement at an AZA-accredited zoo.
Please take a moment to write to AZA Executive Director Kristin Vehrs and the Accreditation Commission to insist that standards be enforced uniformly, and that they take immediate action to alleviate Lucky’s suffering by sending her to a facility that can offer her the companionship of elephants of her own choosing and the space to roam.
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