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
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
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
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
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.