For Immediate Release
June 18, 2009
Elephants like Lucy, the lone Asian elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, should be in the company of other elephants, according to recommendations from a recent meeting by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Elephant Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) in Pittsburgh.
Twenty-four elephant experts from across North America met at the Pittsburgh Zoo in May to discuss elephants in captivity and the wild. They highlighted the Pittsburgh Zoo’s decision to keep a 7-member, mixed age herd and said that the zoo’s family-style unit was a model that all other zoos should strive for.
The Elephant TAG suggested that elephants have evolved to be highly social animals and that they should be kept in a minimum group size of three. “It’s how they live in the wild”, says Rob Laidlaw, a captive wildlife expert and spokesperson for Zoocheck Canada.
The Valley Zoo has been under intense criticism for their decision to keep Lucy alone in their bleak elephant facility. “Now, yet another group is saying that elephants should not be kept alone. We hope this recent recommendation by the Elephant TAG will convince the Valley Zoo that Lucy’s current situation is not the best one for her”, says Woodyer. “Lucy should be allowed to go to a facility where she can enjoy room to roam and interact with other elephants.”
Currently, two world-class sanctuaries have offered Lucy a permanent home in their huge, naturalistic enclosures with other elephants and they are willing to cover the costs of her transfer. The Valley Zoo has so far refused both offers.
The Elephant TAG recommendation follows those of other groups:
Zoocheck Canada is a national animal protection charity (#13150 2072 RR 0001) established in 1984 to promote and protect the interests and well-being of wild animals.
For further information: Zoocheck Canada 416.285.1744
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