Our hearts go out to all who knew and loved Boo. She will be greatly missed by our staff and observers. Sadly, this once again leaves the Asian elephant, Lucky, 53, alone, living in what has been and remains an antiquated, inappropriate exhibit that has never met the needs of the species that have resided and died there. Elephants are highly social animals. It is inhumane to keep Lucky alone.
After the death of African elephant, Alport in 2007, Lucky was alone for almost 3 years until the zoo was finally able to secure another elephant, Boo. This happened as a result of a settlement made by her owner with the USDA in order to avoid significant fines for violating the Animal Welfare Act. Before then, no zoo would send an elephant to San Antonio.
Despite plans and promises to renovate and expand the elephant yard and its barn as far back as 2007, the zoo has failed to update its outdated elephant exhibit.
As such, we continue to ask that Lucky be removed from the San Antonio Zoo. While a sanctuary would be ideal, it is not an option at this time. Therefore, we request that Lucky be sent without delay to an appropriately equipped AZA facility with natural substrata, more space to better meet her needs as a species, and other elephants with whom to socialize. Zoos that have recently upgraded their elephant exhibits for Asian elephants include the San Diego Zoo, Oklahoma City Zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the Smithsonian National Zoo.
One World Conservation calls on Stephen McCusker, as Director of the San Antonio Zoo, to act in Lucky’s best interest, to once and for all close this national embarrassment of an elephant exhibit, and to become the progressive zoo the citizens, visitors, and members of San Antonio were promised years ago.
The elephants have had to make do long enough, while improvements were made elsewhere. Lucky deserves better, as we’ve been arguing for years. Death should not be the requirement for improvement. Lucky’s well-being is our, and should be everyone’s, first priority.
One World Conservation has been monitoring the conditions of the elephants at the San Antonio Zoo and advocating for change since May 2008.