Urge USDA To Confiscate Elephant Lucky From San Antonio Zoo
Please use the form at the bottom of this page to send a message today!
In a shocking move, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) reportedly approved a request by the San Antonio Zoo to keep a 53-year-old female Asian elephant named Lucky in isolation. Lucky is now the only solitary female elephant in an AZA-accredited zoo in the U.S. The zoo's director told the media that Lucky will remain at the zoo
until she dies. The zoo's other elephant, Queenie, died in March.
No elephant should ever be held in solitary confinement. Female elephants are profoundly social - they live in matriarchal, multi-generational herds in the wild that include sisters, aunts, nieces, and nephews.
The AZA's own guidelines require that elephants are housed in groups of three, yet the AZA is inexplicably sanctioning the San Antonio Zoo's cruel decision to keep Lucky alone. This is the third variance the AZA has given to the zoo in a decade to house Lucky alone, despite pleas from IDA and our members to deny the unreasonable (and inhumane) requests and instead send Lucky to a facility that can meet her physical and social needs.
Another zoo recently faced a similar situation, and they handled it with much more compassion than San Antonio. Following the death of an elephant that left a surviving female elephant alone, the Baton Rouge Zoo decided to send the survivor to a zoo with other elephants, saying: "We felt it was best for her [Bozie] to be able to be put in a situation where she could be with multiple Asian elephants in a small herd."
Housing a solitary elephant also violates the
safe-handling requirements of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and
accompanying regulations. USDA-APHIS inspection guidelines note that
housing social animals alone is a serious welfare issue in that
"Animals that are known to be social should be housed together in
1) Use the form below to tell Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to intervene and confiscate Lucky. Sec. Vilsack is responsible for ensuring that the USDA enforces AWA regulations. 2) After you submit your letter, please follow up with a phone call to Sec. Vilsack: 202-720-3631.
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