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Please Help us Free Lucy who has spent over 35 years behind bars...
Description
The Lucy Files: Here is the history of Lucy’s life and the 10-year campaign for her to date that is important for all Lucy advocates to know. The campaign for Lucy continues with the ongoing support of Zoocheck and Voice for Animals Humane Society - Edmonton as well as many individuals in Edmonton, throughout Canada and the world. Together we are committed to securing an independent expert assessment of Lucy to determine her ability to travel to a sanctuary.
Lucy’s campaign needs Edmontonians to assist with local efforts. If you live in Edmonton and are interested in volunteering for activities like tabling, local education and outreach, please contact Friends of Lucy at friendsoflucy@gmail.com or Mary-Ann Holm. We will also be posting an upcoming email action to contact relevant agencies in Canada to help Lucy.
The Lucy Files
A history of Lucy's life and a summary of efforts made on behalf of Lucy at the Edmonton Valley Zoo
1975
Lucy was born in Sri Lanka in 1975. She was captured as a calf in 1976 and was sent to the Sri Lanka National Zoological Gardens.
1977
Lucy arrived at Edmonton Valley Zoo (formerly known as Storyland Valley Zoo) at the age of two. She remained alone at the zoo for the first 12 years in Edmonton.
1986-1988
Lucy was sent on two separate breeding loans to the Calgary Zoo. She was bred many times during these periods but never produced a calf.
1989
An African elephant named Samantha joined Lucy at the Edmonton Valley Zoo (EVZ). Lucy was finally not alone. At the time, Samantha was a one-year old female captured in Zimbabwe.
Lucy started to develop foot problems. Since 1989, Lucy has suffered from foot infections, including pus-filled, bleeding abscesses on her feet.
Note: Foot infections are a leading cause of death in captive elephants. Foot problems are often made worse by a lack of exercise, obesity, standing on hard earth or concrete floors and cool, damp conditions. Wild elephants rarely have these problems.
1991
Lucy was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Note: Arthritis is a common and serious ailment for elephants confined in zoos. It can be made worse by lack of exercise, obesity, standing on hard earth or concrete floors and cool, damp conditions. Wild elephants are not known to suffer from arthritis.
2004
According to veterinary records, Lucy started displaying breathing problems such as wheezing, gurgling in her trunk and open mouth breathing. To date, the zoo has not provided a diagnosis and, to our knowledge, Lucy has had no treatment.
Note: The zoo continues to use her breathing problems as the reason she would not survive transportation to a sanctuary.
Lucy's health record indicated that she had a sharp object removed from a hole in a pad on her right foot.
Zoocheck has obtained Lucy's medical records and there remains no evidence that Lucy is too sick to be moved as the zoo claims. EVZ continues to refuse to allow in a team of independent elephant vets to examine and treat Lucy, if necessary.
2005
Discussions between animal welfare organizations Zoocheck and Voice for Animals (V4A) began about getting the elephants relocated. Zoocheck and V4A visited the zoo and took photos for the start of the campaign. Letters were sent to Edmonton City Council and an action alert was initiated to generate letters from the public to city council.
Zoocheck has obtained Lucy's medical records and there remains no evidence that Lucy is too sick to be moved as the zoo claims. EVZ continues to refuse to allow in a team of independent elephant vets to examine and treat Lucy, if necessary.
2006
A meeting was held with city council to request that Lucy and Samantha be moved to a sanctuary and that the elephant exhibit be closed. An action alert was generated asking people to let city council know that they want the elephants moved.
The end of Samantha's trunk was torn off when she was exploring a latch on a gate. A media release was issued to remind citizens of the plight of both elephants and the conditions at EVZ.
Zoocheck commissions an elephant expert to review and report on Canadian captive elephant enclosures and behaviour.
Zoocheck has obtained Lucy's medical records and there remains no evidence that Lucy is too sick to be moved as the zoo claims. EVZ continues to refuse to allow in a team of independent elephant vets to examine and treat Lucy, if necessary.
2007
A 26-page report on Canadian elephants was written by Winnie Kiiru, PhD. Regarding the EVZ, she reported that "The Edmonton Valley Zoo, in my opinion, is the most problematic due to its northern location and cold climate. Lucy and Samantha are both suffering from stereotypic behavior and Lucy shows signs of severe arthritis and possible foot problems. The City of Edmonton should take steps to move these 2 elephants to a more appropriate facility where they will have time to heal and can live in more healthy social groupings with other elephants."
An analysis was done to determine the amount of time both Lucy and Samantha are locked indoors and a media release was issued.
Copies of the finalized expert report were sent to Edmonton’s mayor and city council along with a letter requesting that the elephants be moved to a sanctuary – no response was received from council, although it generated significant media interest.
A meeting was held with a few city councillors who were sympathetic to Lucy's situation at which time they expressed concern for Lucy's ability to survive transfer as the zoo had convinced them she may not make it.
Action alerts for letter writing, letters to the editor, information tables set up by V4A throughout the city.
Zoocheck requested Lucy and Samantha's medical records via the Freedom of Information Act and conducted a behavioural study of both elephants. The study revealed that both elephants were lethargic and exhibiting stereotypic behaviours.
In September, Lucy's companion Samantha was sent to the North Carolina Zoo on a long-term breeding loan and has never returned. Note: Lucy has remained alone since that time - 2007.
A meeting was held with a few city councillors who were sympathetic to Lucy's situation at which time they expressed concern for Lucy's ability to survive transfer as the zoo had convinced them she may not make it.
Lucy's health record indicated that her keeper removed a 2-inch stick from a hole in her left front foot.
Complaints were issued to the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) regarding Lucy now residing alone and the zoo’s vet consultant reiterated that Lucy cannot survive a move. EHS refuses to pursue the matter any further. Letters were written to Canadian Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) regarding the same and they refused to act stating the zoo assured them Lucy was doing fine.
Lucy's medical records were sent by Zoocheck to two elephant veterinarians in the US to offer an opinion on Lucy's condition and if it was safe to move her. Vets advise that there is no evidence to support EVZ's claim that Lucy was too sick to be moved.
2008
V4A held several protests at City Hall to remind the public that Lucy is languishing all alone.
Zoocheck hired a professional photographer to document Lucy's conditions which were highlighted in a photo report.
Zoocheck consulted with lawyers in an attempt to seek legal avenues to help Lucy.
Lucy was diagnosed with the early stages of colic in August. Colic is a digestive system disease that can be very painful.
Zoocheck has obtained Lucy's medical records and there remains no evidence that Lucy is too sick to be moved as the zoo claims. EVZ continues to refuse to allow in a team of independent elephant vets to examine and treat Lucy, if necessary.
2009
In early 2009, celebrity game show host and prominent animal welfare advocate Bob Barker joined the campaign and along with Zoocheck, offered to fly in renowned veterinary elephant experts to Edmonton at no charge to the city or zoo.
Note: In addition, there are standing offers that remain today for an all expense paid transfer for L
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