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On Jan 4th, 2020 LEAP advocates joined up with fellow advocates around the world to hold a candle light vigil for the 37 elephants that died in captivity in 2019. We went from 6 co-hosts in 2018 to 42 co-hosts in 2019! Unfortunately, we also had an increase of captive elephants that passed away too. We had videos and photos sent in from around the world of both groups that held physical vigils and individuals that sent in photos of their own private vigils. Live vigils were held in: Colombo Sri Lanka, Faridabad India, Elephant Nature Park Thailand, Argentina, London England, Bedford Massachusetts, Cancun Mexico, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, West Springfield Massachusetts, Margate New Jersey, Cottonwood Arizona, Los Angeles California and Portland Oregon.

Live Vigil Video

Individual Vigil Photos Video

January 13, 2020

These heartbreaking photos were sent to us by our friend and supporter Debi Zimmermann DVM. She recently located these old pictures she took of Lucy when she was 3-4 years old.

Debi stated: "These were shot in her first barn that they didn't move her out of until her back was virtually touching the ceiling. It was a tiny, dark and barren space. She's only as tall as her handler here and in one picture he has her pinned on the ground with his bullhook across her neck- you can see the distress in her eye (called a "whale eye" when the whites of the eyes are exposed in fear). She also has several scrapes/sores over her left eye, right jaw, right neck and forehead. The pic with her pinned to the ground shows a bruise on the edge of the inside of her ear-bullhock injury???"

We are sharing these because we continuously hear from zoo supporters that the zoo rescued Lucy as an orphan and she has always been treated like a queen. These baby photos of Lucy tell a very different and horrifying story. More than likely Lucy's herd was culled in order to gain access to her as an infant. We know her herd would have protected her in every possible way because that's what elephants do. This still happens today but was commonplace in the 70's. We have always wondered why Lucy is so docile and suspected she went through some sort of "Elephant Crush" process to break her spirit. We wanted to assume that took place in her homeland of Sri Lanka before she arrived in Edmonton, but these photos clearly indicate that Lucy was subjected to abuse and torture right here at the Valley Zoo.The story of an intentional orphan of poaching being sold into the entertainment industry and undergoing the notorious “crushing” torture regime used to break her spirit, shown by the still healing wounds to her head.

We all know of ivory poaching, but so few people know or care about this side. Family groups culled to sell the infants into captivity. It’s a hard truth but going to zoos supports this unbelievable cruelty.

We know these photos are hard to see and they were for us as well, but we feel it's important that the truth be told. We don't believe Lucy is being physically abused now but there would seem to be no reason anymore. She remembers well what happened to her at the hands of her captors with their bullhooks and is compliant out of fear. She has had to stare at a bullhook for the past 42 years and she knows what could happen. #RetireLucy #CaptivityKIlls #YegZoo #DontBuyATicket


January 23, 2020

Edmonton Valley Zoo is once again named on the WORST ZOO LIST by In Defense of Animals - Read the articles HERE

January 31, 2020

Edmonton Journal publishes LEAP's

open Letter to Edmonton Valley Zoo Director Lindsey Galloway


March 3, 2020 LEAP receives photos from Living Through The Lens of Lucy


March 7, LEAP receives the last video of Lucy before Covid Lockdown begins and Lucy's feet are noted as being in very poor shape.


Still from video showing Lucy's feet

March 8 - LEAP holds it's Spring Meeting to plan what we are going to try to accomplish in 2020.  Little did we know that within a week or so of this we'd be in Lockdown and all our plans were put on hold!


April 5 - LEAP admins ask kids to speak out against captivity

May 19 - LEAP remembers Lucy's 43 years in captivity

June 15 - LEAP is able to hold a socially distanced rally at the zoo asking for Lucy's Retirement.   Media Coverage HERE


AUGUST 5 - LEAP sells Covid Masks to raise money


AUGUST 8 - LEAP holds Art Auction to raise money


AUGUST 11 - LEAP President Mary-Ann Holm Appears on

"Jane Unchained" to speak about Lucy for World Elephant Day

AUGUST 12 - Our friend at FOZE (Free the Oregon Zoo

Elephants) create a video for Lucy for World Elephant Day


An Incredible Worldwide Coalition has been formed to speak out on behalf of Lucy the Elephant

This coalition includes singer/actress Cher's organization Free the Wild, Anthropologist & Conservationist Jane Goodall, world renowned elephant expert Dr. Joyce Poole, PhD, and the top elephant conservationists/rescuers on the globe, Lek Chailert and Scott Blais.

These incredible organizations/individuals and many more, have joined Lucy's Edmonton Advocates’ Project (LEAP) in asking that the Edmonton Valley Zoo finally allow a sanctuary expert, Dr. Lydia Young in to examine Lucy. The zoo has never allowed that to happen. We know the sanctuaries would never put Lucy at risk if they didn't feel it was safe to relocate her. Should the sanctuary vet ultimately agree with the paid zoo vets that travel is too risky, we will accept that and work with the zoo to better Lucy’s life. All we have been asking for is an independent opinion; then this more than decade long saga can finally be over. If the sanctuary vets agree with the zoo’s final assessment, we will help fund raise for the zoo to build her a much-needed hydrotherapy pool. Lucy desperately needs a pool to reduce the pressure on her joints and help relieve her pain from arthritis and foot ailments. These are life threatening captivity related conditions that are the leading cause of premature death for elephants in zoos. We have urged the zoo for years to at least provide Lucy a pool that but instead they keep building other new areas while neglecting Lucy's needs.

LEAP follows the movement of elephants across the globe and sees elephants who are older and sicker than Lucy successfully complete the trip. We believe it can be done safely with proper care and expertise, but will, of course, defer to the sanctuary experts. The accredited North American sanctuaries have never lost an elephant in transit and their reputation depends on keeping it that way.

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If you would like to be part of our current Call to Action, please join our Facebook group or visit our website at We have an email storm underway asking the zoo to consider this request. Every fall they bring in a vet to examine Lucy but refuse to allow someone in from outside the zoo industry and we wonder what they are afraid of. We hoped this year it could be different, but the zoo has again stated they will bring in their own vets despite acknowledging the expertise of Dr. Lydia Young and the excellent reputation of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Please talk to your City Councilor and join our efforts to help Lucy. She needs your voice before it’s too late!

SEPTEMBER 16 - LEAP has an

E-Storm to Edmonton City Council

and the Valley Zoo


OCTOBER 20 - Due to Covid and personal health issues with some admins, LEAP cancels our biggest fundraiser of the year, our annual online auction



Edmonton residents to write

letters to the Editor


November 15 - LEAP has continually tried to work with the EVZ and the directors that have run the zoo over the years. During a meeting with Mr. Galloway in 2019, it was discussed at length why measurements have not been taken of Lucy’s oxygenation. LEAP President Mary-Ann Holm, a Respiratory Therapist by background explained that pulse oximetry is a reliable, 2 minute, non-invasive readily available test, that every vet clinic should be able to perform. Without knowing if Lucy's oxygen levels are normal at rest and during stress/exertion, there is no objective evidence she is at risk. Mr. Galloway said he would discuss measuring Lucy's pulse oximetry with their vet consultants in 2019 but this has never happened.

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DECEMBER 30 - World renowned primatologist Jane Goodall makes a video asking the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Valley Zoo to release Lucy to a sanctuary (she will retract this a mere 2 months later)  See the news coverage HERE or HERE

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