Canadian Zoo Sued over Solitary Elephant

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EDMONTON, Alberta, Feb. 2 (UPI) — A Canadian zoo in Edmonton, Alberta, is being sued by two animal rights groups over its treatment of an aging and ailing female elephant.

The suit was filed against the Valley Zoo by Zoocheck Canada and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, alleging the 34-year-old elephant named Lucy isn’t being cared for properly and should be moved, the Edmonton Journal reported Tuesday.

The suit is backed by an affidavit by retired San Diego Zoo veterinarian Dr. Philip Ensley who said the solitary Asian elephant should have company and claims the harsh winter conditions are contributing to a decline in her health.

“It is my opinion that the conditions and standard of care at the Valley Zoo are causing Lucy unnecessary distress and that these conditions are not in conformity with (zoo association) standards,” Ensley’s filing said.

He said his research suggests Lucy is overweight and has respiratory problems and arthritis, the report said.

Television personalities Bob Barker and William Shatner began making public appeals last year to move the elephant to a sanctuary in California where she could be with other elephants in a more temperate climate.

City lawyer Steve Phipps told the Journal he was confident the city could prove its care conformed with zoo association standards.

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