Calgary Zoo and Edmonton Valley Zoo Both Making Decisions in Best Interest of Their Elephants
April 19, 2012
Edmonton Valley Zoo Director responds to Calgary Zoo elephant announcement
Edmonton Valley Zoo Director Denise Prefontaine released the following statement in response to Calgary Zoo officials announcing its long-term plan to relocate its elephants to another accredited facility:
“The Edmonton Valley Zoo supports the decision by our colleagues at the Calgary Zoo to develop a long-term plan for moving their elephants to a larger facility with a larger herd. Their position to eventually not house elephants is consistent with the previously announced decision of the Edmonton Valley Zoo.
Zoos are stewards of living, breathing animals and must be committed to the best interests of the individual animals. We firmly believe this, and as such support the Calgary Zoo for the careful long-term process they have made a commitment to follow.
Moving elephants can cause great stress to the animals, so deciding if and when to move elephants must be done carefully and thoughtfully and be based on what is right for the individual elephant.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo followed a thoughtful decision-making process before moving Samantha, the zoo’s African elephant, to become part of a breeding herd at the North Carolina Zoo in 2007. Our remaining Asian elephant Lucy is a calm and well-adjusted animal with a challenging and unique medical condition. Lucy has a respiratory condition which precludes any thought of placing her in a stressful situation, such as transporting her and/or placing her with unfamiliar caregivers or in an unfamiliar environment.
Moving Lucy would be life-threatening and this is a risk that we cannot and will not take.
So while the long-term goal of the Edmonton Valley Zoo – like the long-term goal of the Calgary Zoo – is to not have elephants, the current priority is Lucy’s health and overall well-being. The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Valley Zoo will continue to make decisions in the best interest of Lucy. She will remain in Edmonton where we are committed to ensuring she will receive the most appropriate and best care possible.”