The San Antonio Zoo has failed to comply with the AZA elephant standards for many years, and, in the past, they have used a variance granted by the AZA to keep Lucky, a 53-year-old female Asian elephant, in solitary confinement. The zoo is once again requesting a variance to keep Lucky alone, following the death of cage-mate Boo in March.

The last time the zoo requested a variance, Lucky was in isolation for nearly three years. Now she is alone again, and there is no indication that the zoo is considering the acquisition of another female elephant. Even if the zoo were able to locate another elephant, it would still be in violation of the AZA elephant standards, which require a minimum of three elephants.

Given the wealth of scientific literature on the highly social nature of elephants, it is reprehensible to keep Lucky alone for any period of time. Female elephants naturally live in matriarchal groups in which females remain with their mothers for life. To keep an elephant alone is one of the most serious forms of deprivation. Please help us stop this cruel treatment of Lucky.

What you can do:

  1. Please send a message to the president of the AZA, and the heads of the Accreditation Commission and the Elephant Taxon Advisory Group/Species Survival Plan, and tell them that Lucky cannot remain alone again. Ask that the AZA intervene on Lucky’s behalf and deny the variance requested by the San Antonio Zoo.
  2. Follow your message with a phone call to each individual. Please be polite and keep your message brief.
  3. Sign the petition.

Message points:

  • The San Antonio Zoo should not be granted a variance that would allow it to keep the elephant Lucky in isolation.
  • Female elephants are highly social, and it’s cruel to keep Lucky alone.
  • The last time the zoo was granted a variance, Lucky was alone for nearly three years, which is unacceptable for this profoundly social species.
  • The AZA must enforce its elephant standards, which require a minimum of three elephants.


Jim Maddy, President and CEO, AZA
Email: jmaddy@aza.orgsfeldman@aza.org
Phone: 301-562-0777

Gary Geddes (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park), Chair, AZA Accreditation Commission
Email: pdzacomments@tacomaparks.com
Phone: 253-591-5337

Martha Fischer (St. Louis Zoo), AZA Elephant TAG Coordinator, AZA Asian Elephant and African Elephant SSP
Email: fischer@stlzoo.org
Phone: 314-646-4610

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