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Dear supporters of Lucky, of Nicole and Karen, and of any elephants who have or will reside at the San Antonio Zoo,

If you are not already aware, it was made public yesterday that the San Antonio Zoo acquired on loan 47-year-old, Asian elephant, Karen. She arrived from the Ringling Brothers Center for Conservation and was reintroduced to her former circus companion, Nicole, as well as Lucky, in what seems another brash form of introduction, lacking quarantine or proper introduction facilities to integrate the new addition to the herd.

As we are committed to Lucky’s well-being, we are committed now equally to Nicole and Karen’s. As such, we have made the decision to rebrand our campaign. You will notice our Facebook page's title is now simply, “Save the San Antonio Elephants.” Please spread the message.

It goes without saying that Karen and Nicole, who have suffered decades of physical and mental abuse—all of which can be found outlined in detail on our website—have found something of a sanctuary in zoo life. They are no longer subjected to bullhook use. They are no longer forced to perform unnatural, painful tricks or are subject to ongoing, controversial research. As they have spent much of their life together, it is wonderful to see them together once more, without the strife of circus life.

Our statements remain solid, though. They have not changed since Alport’s death sparked the original campaign in 2007. They have not changed since Boo’s arrival and death. They have not changed now.

The exhibit does not meet the needs of these critically endangered species. It has never met the needs of an Asian elephant. Not one, two, three, or five. The exhibit is still far too small for one elephant, much less three or more. Despite the more recent attempts to amend this, the facilities overall are antiquated, and the substrata is still very much unnatural.

So where does this leave the campaign?

We have Lucky, still suffering from arthritis due to her environment, Nicole, a—thus far—seemingly good match for Lucky, and now Karen, who while bonded with Nicole has had issues with other elephants when confined to inadequately small habitats in the past and may not be a good match for Lucky, particularly given the zoo’s unnaturally small exhibit. Do we hope this doesn’t become an issue? Of course. Are we confident in the placement and decision-making in sending these two to San Antonio? Absolutely not.

We have a lot of questions, a lot of concerns, and as always, we will be watching. Our support for the lawsuit continues, our stance remains unchanged. As much as you fluff it, these elephants are wild, critically endangered species. They are not commodities that can or should just be tossed into an inadequate exhibit in the hopes they get along. They are not disposable, free to be shipped right back to the hell they’ve escaped, if only in location, if only temporarily, from Ringling.

If you are with the media or have any questions regarding the lawsuit, please contact our attorney, Melissa Lesniak at melissa.a.lesniak@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support. We are in this until these elephants, all of them, are provided with the proper environment that San Antonio has never been able to secure.

Best Regards,

One World Conservation

Comments

  • Wed, 08/31/2016 - 14:50 reply
    Zoo's are no place for these majestic animals. Send them to a sanctuary.
  • Wed, 08/31/2016 - 20:27 reply
    I am so very happy that Lucky and Nicole are bonding so quickly. I am very concerned about adding Karen now in what is definitely an inadequate amount of space for two Elephants, let alone three, and with no quarantine or properly introducing her to Lucky. I'm very worried about Lucky being bullied or worse by Karen in such a small enclosure They just couldn't leave well enough alone. Always have to add some extra cruelty into the mix. More elephants= more money!
  • Mon, 09/05/2016 - 20:49 reply
    I hope everyone keeps an eye on all the zoos that are barely meeting the "three-elephant rule" now in effect for AZA-accredited zoos. If the rule is 3, then the best practice (even for a zoo) is most likely a minimum of 6-8 elephants in a group. Most mid-sized zoos can barely meet the three-elephant rule and most small zoos have already stopped exhibiting elephants. Elephants will start to become in very short supply within a few more years and more zoos will have to give up their elephant displays over time. I'm personally hoping the colder climate zoos give way first so that remaining captive elephants eventually are only in climate conditions closer to their native habitat. The ethics of keeping captive elephants keep moving in the direction of no captive elephants and the transition to no captive elephants will continue.

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