What the Valley Zoo Says

Lucy has bonded with her keepers

In normal elephant societies, female elephants are in constant 24 hour a day social contact with family members. This social contact cannot be reproduced in a zoo environment. Keepers are nothing like a real family or herd.

Think about it. Keepers at the Valley Zoo go home at the end of the day. And when they do, Lucy is left alone in her spartan indoor facility, until the next morning. Elephant families don’t disband in the evening and then reassemble the next morning. They're together all the time. Lucy’s keepers are nothing at all like a real elephant family.

The zoo is all Lucy has ever known

It's true that the elephant yard and barn at the Valley Zoo is probably all Lucy has ever known, but that’s probably the best reason for moving her elsewhere.

Denying Lucy a better life just because she’s only known the Valley Zoo doesn’t make sense. In fact, it's a terrible reason to keep her there.

Lucy is not a social elephant

The Valley Zoo claims Lucy isn't a social elephant, but there's no such thing. Science shows us that all female elephants are highly social. Lucy spent many years in the company of Samantha, the African elephant she shared her enclosure with at the zoo. If she could live with an elephant of another species, there is no reason to believe she wouldn't do well with members of her own species.

Before Maggie the elephant was moved from the Alaska Zoo, they also claimed she didn't need company. But when she was moved to a sanctuary in California, it didn't take long before Maggie was interacting and bonding with the other elephants at the facility.

Medical conditions prevent Lucy from being moved

The Valley Zoo claims that, except for her respiratory problem and arthritis, Lucy is healthy. At the same time, they also say moving Lucy would be stressful and might kill her. But they haven't produced any proof that what they are saying is true.

Zoocheck recently sent a veterinarian with 36 years of elephant experience and a sanctuary operator with years of experience caring for and moving elephants to the Valley Zoo to look at Lucy. They disagreed with the zoo. In fact, they said Lucy looked better than some of the elephants they've moved in the past.

What is clear is that the Valley Zoo has not been able to solve Lucy's ongoing health problems. They go back more than 20 years and Lucy isn't getting any better. In fact, she seems to be getting worse. Her living conditions, lack of activity, and the frustration and stress of living alone, contribute to her worsening health.

Lucy has many health issues, but it's difficult to imagine that her health wouldn't improve if she were moved to a better situation. In a more stimulating, naturalistic environment Lucy would be able to act more like an elephant. She’d be more active, her fitness would get better, her immune system would get stronger and her mental state would improve.

The Valley Zoo also seems to ignore the fact that elephants, including very sick elephants, have been moved from place to place for more than 150 years.

The Alaska Zoo claimed Maggie was too sick to be moved, but she was moved to California and is now doing very well. Before they decided to move Maggie, the Alaska Zoo consulted with a panel of 11 people familiar with Maggie's plight. 10 of them said Maggie could be moved. Only 1 veterinarian was opposed and he's the one that the Valley Zoo is using as one of their primary veterinary consultants.