Alport’s premature death in 2007 alerted us to conditions at the San Antonio Zoo and sparked our first campaign.
Every year on the anniversary of Alport’s death, we hold a candle light vigil for her, as a statement of our commitment to her. We continue to seek out and reveal the truth regarding her death and to show her suffering is not forgotten, for she suffered far more than she should have.
Alport was born in 1958 in the wilds of Algeria before being caught in 1959. In 1962, she arrived at the San Antonio Zoo and spent her remaining years there. She never saw another African elephant again.
In 2006, footage was taken of a healthy, robust African elephant. Mid-2006 her appearance changed dramatically. Still footage and video footage from the time show an extremely emaciated elephant.
In October 2007, she fell in the elephant yard and had difficulty getting back to her feet, but managed to do so eventually. In the fall, she sustained a serious injury, either a torn ACL or to her hip. (The Zoo Director has changed the story several times.) She became listless and stopped eating well.
On November 1, 2007, she fell down again in the barn. By the morning of November 2, she had died, alone, on a concrete slab in the elephant barn.
Alport was 49-years-old when she died, the seventh premature elephant death at the San Antonio Zoo.
During Alport’s life, there was a campaign for her headed by In Defense of Animals and Voice for Animals, a local group.
While we are aware of her injury and believe this did occur, we also feel that there was an underlying cause of death that has never been answered. The condition that caused her wasted appearance, we believe, may have been the underlying factor in her death.
Whatever the cause, the zoo is not forthcoming with her vet records to show the public, us, or anyone else for that matter, and as such it remains a mystery that One World Conservation is committed to resolving these questions. We have diligently sought those answers over the last few years.
- We continue to file USDA complaints and requests for investigations into her death
- We’ve filed a congressional inquiry through Congressman Lamar Smith’s office
- Under Texas law, most nonprofits are not held to the Freedom of Information Act, but if they are receiving money from city or state, which is the case at the San Antonio Zoo, they are open. So we sent a 10 day notice, requesting records on Alport and Lucky, and then filed a complaint with the Attorney General, but we were denied access because of an appeal that the zoo filed, claiming they were private medical records
- We have requested the removal of the Zoo Director, Stephen McCusker, due in part to his lack of transparency regarding deaths at the San Antonio Zoo
- We continue to bring awareness to her case
In 2008, a concerned citizen alerted One World Conservation, then under the organization Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, of the lone remaining elephant, Lucky.
The Zoo remains silent in regards to her death and many others, despite Mr. McCusker publicly stating that he would send the records to In Defense of Animals staff, providing one excuse after another as to why he cannot provide the records and other records that are sought.