Tell Louisville Zoo to Send Elephants to Sanctuary!

Louisville Zoo continues to hold three elephants captive in a cramped exhibit. A mother elephant, her young calf, and their one companion named Punch — all held in a cramped enclosure in order to generate profits from paying customers. Elephants are naturally evolved to live within close-knit herds and to enjoy endless space in which to roam. Louisville Zoo is falling short when it comes to giving these elephants the lives they deserve. Please urge Louisville Zoo to send these three elephants to an accredited sanctuary now!

After seven long years of repeated and failed artificial insemination attempts by Louisville Zoo staff, 35-year-old African elephant Mikki finally gave birth to a calf in 2019 after tragically losing her previous calf, Scotty, in 2010 from colic. Baby Fitz is the Louisville Zoo's second elephant birth in its fifty-year history.

Artificial insemination is the process used to produce babies for the zoo industry. It's an unnatural, invasive, and likely traumatic experience for elephants, often requiring their legs to be chained down—indicating that individuals like Mikki would flee the procedure if given the choice. Still, the Zoo forced Mikki to undergo six artificial insemination procedures in 2016 alone.

In response to ranking on our 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants list, the Zoo confirmed that staff members "tethered" Mikki during the artificial insemination procedures, yet failed to provide proof that Mikki's serum cortisol—a hormone associated with stress—remained low or that it did not spike during the actual procedures.

Your voice is needed now to ask Louisville Zoo to close its elephant exhibit for good and to send Mikki, her calf Fitz, and companion Punch to an accredited sanctuary where they can live the rest of their lives in peace.

What YOU Can Do — TODAY:



Please make a call and send our letter for these elephants today.

1) Call the Louisville Zoo at (502) 459-2181.

Politely ask that Mikki, Fitz, and Punch be sent to accredited sanctuaries and that the elephant exhibit be permanently closed.

2) Email Louisville Zoo Director, John T. Walczak, by filling out the form on this page.


Sign our petition to make your voice heard to:


  • John T. Walczak — Louisville Zoo Director


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Retire Mikki, Fitz and Punch from Louisville Zoo

Dear [Decision Maker],

On behalf of In Defense of Animals, an animal protection organization with over 250,000 supporters, I urge you to send Mikki, Fitz, and Punch to an accredited sanctuary and permanently close your elephant exhibit.

Elephants deserve more space, social opportunities, and autonomy than any zoo can provide, including the Louisville Zoo. Your staff put Mikki through the hardships of artificial insemination far too many times to be considered acceptable, and as a result of these unnatural and invasive procedures, only one calf has survived. If he remains at your zoo, Fitz will never experience being part of a true herd of elephants or exercise his ability to make any decisions over his life.

Elephants deserve better. I implore you to understand that no captive situation can come close to approximating life in the wild and that an accredited sanctuary, with hundreds of acres for elephants to roam, is much closer to the real thing.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your positive response.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]


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