The Edmonton Valley Zoo has been home to Lucy the elephant who has been the subject of great attention. Most of it comes from inflammatory and inaccurate campaigns by activists on the local, national, and international levels. We believe you deserve the facts on Lucy’s health and well-being.

Myth: Lucy was taken from the wild and has always been isolated

Fact: Lucy was orphaned in Sri Lanka and was brought to the Edmonton Valley Zoo via the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage and Colombo Zoo. She is what is often called a “people elephant”, and her herd is her zoo family – the keepers and trainers who spend their days with Lucy. It is very special to witness the affection Lucy has for her caregivers. Lucy has had opportunities to socialize with both Asian and African elephants in the past, but these interactions demonstrated her lack of understanding of elephant dynamics; she simply did not do well in these situations. You can view our latest videos about Lucy's socialization and enrichment for additional information.

Myth: She is kept indoors and has little space to roam and is chained

Fact: Lucy is rarely indoors and is often found enjoying the outdoors year-round. On the rare days she stays inside due to weather conditions, she follows an exercise program designed by an animal rehabilitation veterinarian. Lucy is not chained; she is free to walk around. On rare occasions, elephants may need to be restrained as a safety measure for all. This is a requirement of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Association. You can view our latest videos about Lucy's socialization and enrichment for additional information.

Myth: She is kept outside in freezing cold weather

Fact: When Lucy needs to be indoors due to cold weather she has a large heated building as well as a heated exercise barn. She does take walks daily even in the winter and her temperature and response to the weather are monitored closely by her caregivers during the walks.

Myth: Lucy stands on concrete all day causing serious foot problems

Facts: Lucy’s feet are in good condition. Her indoor enclosure floors are covered in rubber matting, sand, or mulch to ease pressure on her feet. These floors are also heated. Lucy’s care team checks and conditions her feet daily as a preventative measure. You can view our latest health update videos for additional information.

Myth: Lucy is obese

Facts: Lucy’s weight is managed through her nutritional and exercise program. Her weight fluctuates but she is not considered obese.

Myth: The Zoo feeds Lucy a poor diet

Facts: Lucy is on a nutrition plan recommended by an animal nutritionist and her veterinarian. The plan includes a variety of fresh browse, grass, herbivore pellets, and hay. You can view our latest videos about Lucy's diet for more information.

Myth: Lucy is old and sick, with serious health problems

Fact: While Lucy is a well-adjusted elephant she does have some health issues that are managed well with her team at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Her most significant health challenge is a respiratory problem that makes it difficult for her to breathe when she is in a stressful situation, such as being transported or placed with unfamiliar caregivers.

Myth: The Zoo hasn't diagnosed or treated Lucy's respiratory problem

Fact: Lucy has a respiratory problem due to a constriction of airway in her upper nasal region. Her breathing issue is managed when she is calm and comfortable. Under stress, Lucy’s ability to breathe is stretched almost beyond her capacity. You can view our latest videos about Lucy's health for additional information.

Myth: The Edmonton Valley Zoo violates zoo standards by keeping Lucy alone

Facts: The Edmonton Valley Zoo is inspected annually and meets all applicable regulatory and legislative standards, and codes of ethics of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. The agencies that license and regulate zoos in Alberta have also reviewed Lucy’s situation and have confirmed there are extenuating circumstances that must be considered for Lucy’s well-being.

Myth: The decision to keep Lucy in Edmonton is because of money

Facts: The Edmonton Valley Zoo puts the well-being and care of all the animals ahead of all else, and Lucy is no exception. Decisions will continue to be made in the best interest of Lucy’s health and wellbeing as she is an individual animal, with individual needs.

Myth: Lucy has never been examined by a third-party veterinarian or elephant expert. The Zoo is paying vets to say Lucy cannot be moved

Fact: The Edmonton Valley Zoo routinely consults with international experts to ensure Lucy receives excellent care. Many experts in the well-being of elephants who have examined Lucy have chosen not to lend their names to their findings due to harassment from animal rights activists. You can view our latest videos about Lucy's health for additional information.

Myth: Lucy doesn't walk enough

Fact: Lucy goes for multiple long walks each day and follows a prescribed exercise program. While research is still being evaluated, it is said that Asian elephants in the wild travel four to nine kilometers daily in search of food and water.