Renowned animal activist Jane Goodall now believes Lucy the elephant should stay at the Edmonton Valley Zoo following an independent medical expert evaluation.
In December, the celebrated primatologist and anthropologist added her voice to those calling on Edmonton city council to transfer Lucy from the zoo to a sanctuary in Tennessee.
But following a review of the credentials and experience with elephants of a team of veterinarians who have provided medical and behavioural assessments for Lucy, the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada has reversed its stance.
“We have concluded that each veterinarian involved in Lucy’s evaluations was well qualified to provide their opinion, being recognized by international certifying bodies for their specialty,” the institute said in a statement Thursday.
“The assessments they provided were thorough and independent. Their findings were consistent — the risks of moving Lucy outweigh the potential benefits to her. Our founder asked for this review and supports its conclusion that Lucy should not be moved.”
In a statement posted online, the Edmonton Valley Zoo said it is happy the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada has recognized the quality of care the team provides Lucy.
“Lucy has been looked after by the responsible and dedicated staff of the (Edmonton Valley Zoo) for more than 40 years, and the zoo is committed to providing Lucy with the best care she would receive anywhere,” the statement reads.
Lucy joined the Edmonton zoo in 1977 from the Pinnewala Animal Orphanage in Sri Lanka. The last update on her health was released in November 2019 and completed by Renaud Leguillette, a professor of equine medicine at the University of Calgary’s school of veterinary medicine.
Her most significant health issue is a respiratory problem that makes it difficult for her to breathe in stressful situations, including being transported or placed with unfamiliar caregivers.
The zoo has long maintained moving Lucy would be highly detrimental to her health or kill her.