Sanctuary veterinarians who have been involved with the relocation of countless ailing elephants will have to ensure she is a good candidate to be moved before any move would take place.
Zoocheck Canada and two US elephant sanctuaries (PAWS and The Elephant Sanctuary) have offered to bring in a team of world renowned veterinarians with decades of experience in elephant care to consult with the Valley Zoo vet about Lucy’s health, at no cost to the zoo. Sadly, zoo officials will not allow any outside vet to examine Lucy or consult on her care and Edmonton City council, who have ultimate authority over the zoo, have refused to step in to facilitate an examination. The question is why are officials keeping top experts away from Lucy?
Four veterinarians (three who specialize in elephant care) have conducted a detailed review of the Valley Zoo’s own medical records for Lucy and feel that she would benefit by being moved to a warmer climate with other elephants. Two of these veterinarians and an expert in elephant transportation have visited Lucy and opined that she appears to be a good candidate for relocation. Of course, without a medical examination, no final determination can be made.
Zoo officials have rebuffed all requests for independent medical experts to examine Lucy. They continue to say she is too sick to be moved, while also claiming she is "happy and healthy" at the Valley Zoo. Since the zoo seems to want to retain Lucy as an attraction, their claims appear self-serving and contrary to Lucy's best interests. Many animal welfare groups and private citizens find the zoo's claims questionable.
Alberta's zoo regulations state that captive animals in zoos must be kept in appropriate social groupings. By keeping Lucy alone, persistently claiming she can't be moved for medical reasons and then denying independent medical experts an opportunity to examine her, it appears the zoo (and the City of Edmonton) is circumventing Alberta's law, with no apparent repercussions.
If top experts found Lucy to be in a physical condition acceptable for her to be moved, the zoo and the City of Edmonton would be obligated by law to move her since the Valley Zoo's facilities are too small to accommodate an appropriate social group (defined by the zoo industry groups as not less than 3 elephants).
Enforcement officials at the Edmonton Humane Society have accepted the zoo staff’s opinion regarding Lucy’s health and have not brought in arms-length, independent experts to assess her health and apparently have not consulted with elephant transportation experts regarding possible low stress methods of transporting Lucy should she be deemed healthy enough to be moved.
If zoo officials were confident about their assessment of Lucy’s health, they should not be averse to allowing Lucy to be examined by independent veterinarians with decades of expertise in elephant care, a move that would almost certainly ensure, at the least, that Lucy receives the best possible care. By keeping independent veterinarians and other experts away from Lucy, zoo officials and the City of Edmonton Council lack credibility and appear to be hiding something.
Animal welfare groups and private citizens concerned about Lucy are asking the City of Edmonton Council to intervene on behalf of Lucy by facilitating her examination by a team of unbiased expert veterinarians, in consultation with the Valley’s Zoo’s vet, so that she can get the best possible medical care available.
Please write to the City of Edmonton Council and the Valley Zoo and let them know that it is in Lucy's best interest to have additional veterinary expertise brought in. Doing so would demonstrate that the City of Edmonton and the Valley Zoo really do want to do what's best for her.