Lucy is a female Asian elephant living alone at the Edmonton Valley Zoo in Alberta, Canada.  Purchased from a wildlife dealer in 1977 at the age of 2, Lucy has been living in Edmonton’s cold climate ever since

Lucy is now in her mid-40s, an age when the majority of elephants held captive in zoos die. Will she die at the Valley Zoo, never experiencing space to roam, opportunities to do elephant things or being with other Asian elephants? That would be a sad, sorry end to Lucy's tragic life.

Response to the Valley Zoo's claims (2009)

Response to the Valley Zoo's Claims about Lucy the elephant (video from
2009 but content still relevant today)

All elephants have basic physical, psychological and social requirements that must be satisfied if they are to experience a high level of welfare and well-being in captivity. They require very large spaces, complex natural terrain, pasture, activities that keep them physically and mentally stimulated, a proper social environment and an appropriate climate that allows them to be outdoors most of the time.

Lucy's life at the Valley Zoo is deficient in many respects. She is socially isolated, lives in an enclosure that lacks space and complexity and she is forced to live through Edmonton's long cold winters. Lucy has also experienced a number of ongoing health issues that the zoo has not been able to resolve and that may be exacerbated by her captive circumstances.
The Valley Zoo has made numerous, often nonsensical, anti-scientific, claims about why Lucy cannot or should not be moved. They include:

  • Lucy cannot be moved because she has an undiagnosed respiratory condition that would endanger her life,
  • Lucy is happy and healthy (but too sick to be moved),
  • Lucy is not a social elephant,
  • Lucy is accustomed to Edmonton's weather.

It should be noted that Lucy's continued social isolation is contrary to accepted management practices for elephants in captivity around the world and to the Province of Alberta's own zoo standards.
While the Valley Zoo and the City of Edmonton try to paint a rosy, almost idyllic, picture of Lucy's life, the reality is quite different. A highly social, extremely intelligent, wide-ranging animal that was born in the tropical forests of Sri Lanka should not live alone in a tiny, barren zoo exhibit in a northern Canadian city.

Join Zoocheck in our campaign to give Lucy a better life. Click here to find out what you can do to help.

Zoocheck Position on Lucy the Elephant