Zoo meets standards for elephant care: humane society

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Humane Society says the city’s Valley Zoo is meeting required standards in its care of a 35-year-old Asian elephant.

EDMONTON — The Edmonton Humane Society says the city’s Valley Zoo is meeting required standards in its care of a 35-year-old Asian elephant.

Lucy has been at the centre of a legal fight by animal rights activists who want her moved from the zoo.

They say she is lonely, has respiratory problems and suffers in the cold weather.

The Valley Zoo was listed this week by an American animal rights organization as No. 2 on a list of the 10 worst zoos for elephants.

But the humane society says it is satisfied that the zoo is meeting standards set out under the Animal Protection Act.

It says it is pleased zoo officials are consulting with experts to ensure Lucy is getting adequate care.

The humane society has recommended the zoo continue its efforts to make sure Lucy gets exercise in the winter, is treated for her breathing problem and has her weight managed.

A zoo spokesman says the facility will act on all the suggestions, which are consistent with Lucy’s treatment program.

“Our priority is ensuring that Lucy continues to receive the best possible care,” said Dr. Milton Ness, the Valley Zoo’s veterinarian. “Lucy is an individual elephant with unique issues and needs — and she must be understood and treated as an individual animal.”

Lucy has lived alone at the zoo since its only other elephant, Samantha, was sold to a breeding program three years ago.

Lucy is at the heart of a legal battle between the City of Edmonton and two animal rights groups: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Zoocheck. The animal groups want her moved to a sanctuary in the United States, but the city argues that moving her would probably kill her.

The fight to move her has been backed by retired game show host Bob Barker, actor William Shatner and former NHL hockey player Georges Laraque.

The Valley Zoo was the only Canadian facility on the 10-worst list.

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