In 1962, a small Asian elephant named Lucky was brought to her new home in America.
She was happy at her home in the San Antonio Zoo; she made many new friends and got to watch all of the funny two-legged people walk by as she played throughout the day. She was given daily baths, the best medical care, and the most delicious food she had ever tasted!
As she grew old she met others of her kind, but none of them were truly the source of her happiness. In fact, some of them even picked on her, and she had to rely on her kind human friends to protect her and meet her physical and emotional needs. Those friends, her now seven keepers that were solely devoted to her, truly cared about her and wanted what was best for her.
Nevertheless, some fake friends tried to “help” Lucky when she didn’t need it, and she became frightened for her future. Although her caretakers had preserved her so well that she had lived over nine years what her life expectancy predicted, other people (those fake friends) were saying that her keepers weren’t doing enough to help her.
They were using flawed logic, but they couldn’t hear Lucky’s pleas to leave her alone. She wasn’t limited by the lack of language, because her and her keepers had grown to understand each other, but the fake friends didn’t actually come to spend ample time with Lucky to see for themselves what would be best for her.
They used emotionally charged arguments and generalities, forgetting Lucky was an individual.
What is best for other elephants isn’t necessarily best for ALL elephants. Lucky had grown up in and was comfortable with her current environment. She was old, and knew the stress of a move would most likely shorten her life. On top of that, trying to get socialized into a new herd would lead to more of her own kind picking on her and end up making her life miserable.
This isn’t just a story though, this is a real situation, and Lucky is now in a legal fight where animal rights activists are suing her home of over fifty years to move her to a sanctuary where she will have lower quality care, an alien environment, and will likely die from the stress.
Watch this video to understand Lucky and her situation:
The Asian elephant Lucky was brought to the San Antonio Zoo in 1962. Throughout her life she has had several other elephants as companions, but she has never truly gotten along with them as well as one would hope. In 2013, her most recent companion, Boo, passed away.
Even though that elephant had always acted negatively towards Lucky, and on several occasions hurt her physically, it was the loss of her companion that sparked the interest of radical animal rights organizations.
These organizations are suing the zoo for many things, including: keeping her in isolation, providing insufficient space, not providing adequate shelter, and for leaving an inappropriate substrate on the floor.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), these factors have hurt Lucky both physically and mentally.
Let’s address the negative environment allegations first. She has lived in the same habitat for fifty years. Why is this the first time the issue is being raised? Better yet, why has she lived so much longer than the average lifespan if her habitat was so negative for her well-being?
The claims that she doesn’t have space, shelter, or that there is something wrong with the floor are absurd. She is given the best care an animal could dream of, and is deeply loved by all who are responsible for her.
Her habitat is in compliance with the requirements of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, an accreditation standard based on science that continues to be re-evaluated in order to provide the best environments for animals – this includes mandatory standards for elephants.
If you are still concerned about her care, watch this video of her keepers explaining her situation.
She gets daily exams and baths, weekly pedicures, and her food is even ground up to keep her in the best health possible. This dedication would not happen at a sanctuary, which are generally filled with too many animals and understaffed, resulting in animals receiving worse care than they would at their zoo homes.
Animal rights activists are waging a war against Zoos and Animal Entertainment, and they don’t care how many animals they have to hurt in the process. Lucky is their current battle.
As far as being in isolation, she is with the best herd possible: those keepers who care for her so much. She has never gotten along well with those of her own species, but has adopted these dedicated individuals as her new family.
You can easily see how much they care for Lucky in this video about her and her trainers.
Animal rights activists need to leave this poor elderly animal alone. She and her keepers, whom have over 100 years of experience between them, do not need the ‘expertise’ of lawyers and radicals who haven’t spent the hours scrubbing her, feeding her, training her, and exercising her like the dedicated keepers at the San Antonio Zoo have.
If they are successful in their suit, Lucky will undergo the most stressful situation in her life. She hasn’t been in a crate since 1962 and has never been crate trained, but she would have to be put in a crate and lifted out of her habitat by crane. Then, she would be stuck on a truck (while still in the crate) and driven for hours and across many states. When she finally gets to the sanctuary she will have to fight for food, be introduced to a new herd, and have to earn her spot in the pecking order.
This would be the worst situation possible for Lucky, the kind, gentle, and easy-going elephant of San Antonio. She is too old to have to worry about moving her life, losing those who care about her most, and adapting to a new habitat.
Support the San Antonio Zoo in their effort to protect Lucky from the unintended consequences that animal rights activist always forget to consider.
Support Lucky and protect her from those who are trying to use her for publicity instead of doing what is best for her.
If we sacrifice Lucky, and let the animal rights activists do what will inevitably shorten her life, then we are abandoning the very fundamentals of animal welfare.
Use the hashtags #StandWithSanAntonioZoo or #StandWithLucky to show your support and publicize the battle that is raging on around Lucky. Don’t let this go unnoticed.
For more information and Lucky and her situation, visit welovelucky.com.