The elephant situation at the San Antonio Zoo is getting serious. According to a local news item, In Defense of Animals has filed a complaint in California against the San Antonio Zoo, saying aggressive behavior between two elephants, Lucky and Boo, will probably result in “dire consequences.” IDA is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to act immediately and remove the elephants from the zoo and transfer them to a natural-habitat sanctuary where they would have room to move and could choose their companions. In the meantime, IDA is asking the USDA to require constant monitoring of the elephants by the zoo.
The IDA’s complaint is backed by one of the world’s leading elephant scientists, ElephantVoices co-director, Dr. Joyce Poole, who has been studying elephant behavior in Africa and Asia for more than 30 years. “Lucky is being terrorized by Boo,” says Dr. Poole. “This kind of persistent bullying is not seen in the wild, because elephants have other activities with which to occupy themselves, and because they can remove themselves from conflict, if need be. In my opinion, the primary cause of this undesirable situation is that the elephants have too little space.”
Lucky and Boo have had hard, sad lives. Lucky lived alone for many years in small, cramped surroundings. Boo — formerly named Queenie — suffered abuse for decades as a circus elephant. When Boo was rescued from the circus, animal organizations like ElephantVoices and IDA lobbied for both Boo and Lucky to be sent to a sanctuary to live out the rest of their years in peace. That didn’t happen, and now Lucky and Boo live in close quarters, with increasing signs of dangerous aggression.
Who knows how long it will take to USDA to act, if it acts at all. Don’t wait. Sign the Change.org petition to free Lucky and Boo (a.k.a. Queenie) from the San Antonio Zoo and place them in an appropriate wildlife sanctuary. The longer these two elephants are forced to live in such a bad environment, the greater the chances of one or both of their lives ending in tragedy.
Photo Credit: In Defense of Animals