Keeping animals in captivity for entertainment must stop. Zoos and circuses must cease to exist, and we must all work hard to see these innocent prisoners returned to the wild or sent to an ethical sanctuary or wildlife refuge.
I am the President and founder of the Grassroots advocacy group Lucy’s Edmonton Advocates Project also known as LEAP.
The LEAP NGO was formed in 2015 to advocate for the lone suffering Asian elephant Lucy, who has been housed at the Edmonton Valley Zoo in Canada since she was 2 years old. She has never had the companionship of another of her species since she arrived in 1977. The sub-arctic climate in Edmonton is no place for an elephant and because of climate, Lucy the elephant spends ⅔ of her time inside her tiny concrete enclosure. She has a very small yard (less than ½ acre) and is allowed to go on occasional walks throughout the zoo under the guidance of her captors and their bullhooks.
LEAP has embarked on a multi-faceted public awareness campaign to bring attention to Lucy’s plight.
Her situation has become urgent.
She turns 46 this year, and while still a relatively young elephant she appears much older than she is. Lucy has difficulty ambulating due to significant arthritis and foot infections. She is very withdrawn and depressed, displaying repetitive stereotypical movements to combat her boredom and loneliness. She is 1,000 pounds overweight and also suffers from painful dental and digestive issues due to an inappropriate diet.
Despite repeated pleas to allow Lucy to retire to a sanctuary by many, zoo administrators refuse to let her go. They claim that Lucy is too old and sick to move and that she would die during transport. We know this is zoo rhetoric as we see older and sicker elephants safely make the trip to sanctuaries across the globe.
Currently LEAP for Lucy’s main mission is to bring in independent world-renowned species experts to assess Lucy’s current health status and make recommendations for her care and to determine her ability to be safely transported to one of 2 US sanctuaries that have offered her a home.