Lucy the elephant, without question, will not be moved to warmer climates, Valley Zoo officials said yesterday.
“We will not consider moving Lucy to an American animal sanctuary, or anywhere else,” Linda Cochrane, general manager of city community services, said. “She will stay at the Valley Zoo where she’s calm and comfortable.”
Officials claim the announcement was not timed with the impending arrival of game show host Bob Barker, who will bring PETA’s “Save Lucy” campaign to Edmonton Thursday.
After an abscessed molar thought to be the cause of her respiratory problems fell out, the 34-year-old Asian elephant was examined by an independent veterinarian. Despite the tooth’s departure, the vet discovered inflammation, which further hinders her breathing.
“It is my opinion that it would (be) unethical for any veterinarian to recommend moving her and, in fact, would be malpractice to sign a health certificate for her at this time,” Dr. James Oosterhuis wrote in a letter to the zoo.
Zoo officials say they won’t speculate on what will happen to Lucy if her breathing improves, or if they’ll move her to a sanctuary.
Though “the zoo’s long-term goal is to not house elephants,” a “companion animal” may one day share space with Lucy, Cochrane said.
“If they’re making one elephant as miserable as Lucy is, I can’t imagine why they would want to make another as miserable,” Barker told Metro yesterday.
Despite the zoo’s firm stance, Barker said he’ll still come on down to Edmonton this week with a team of elephant experts, though they won’t be allowed to examine Lucy.
He insists a panel of experts is needed to care for her.
“Our goal is exactly the same. We used to say ‘free Lucy.’ Well, she can’t be freed right now, because she is ill, but we want to ‘save’ Lucy with better medical treatment than she’s received in her whole life, and deserves.”
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