© 2019 LEAP

Proudly created with Wix.com

Edmonton Valley Zoo comes #7 on In Defense of Animals 2019 Top 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants List

January 23, 2020

The Edmonton Valley Zoo has refused to rehome its ailing Asian elephant, Lucy, for many years. She could now be doomed to die in her freezing prison. Lucy is held in solitary confinement and is forced to endure frigid Canadian winters, where temperatures regularly range between 14F (-10C) and -31F (-35C). During winter, she is mainly confined to a small barn, except for brief exercise periods when she's walked across snow and ice to another indoor exercise area–but even then, she's under the constant threat of bullhooks.

Lucy's health has declined seriously over the years of living in Edmonton, and has recently taken a turn for the worse. She is on a cocktail of anti-inflammatories and opioids to manage her pain, and has been since 2016. These medications commonly cause serious stomach problems, which Lucy is now experiencing. These drugs have caused her to fall over in the past year... but without them, she would be unable to stand due to arthritic pain. Lucy's health is in a downward spiral, which will probably lead to her untimely death.

For years, local activists have been lobbying for Lucy to be released to a sanctuary, but the Edmonton Valley Zoo has repeatedly refused. The Zoo has claimed that Lucy is too sick to be moved, but remains apparently uninterested in improving Lucy's situation. In 2016, ZooCheck and Voice for Animals filed a lawsuit on Lucy's behalf. Unfortunately, the City of Edmonton (which owns and operates the Zoo) successfully argued that provincial animal welfare laws governing zoos are unenforceable. This shocking ruling has set a dangerous precedent that responsible agencies cannot act to protect animals, correct violations, or even confirm that zoos are in compliance before granting permits. Numerous animals, in addition to Lucy, will be harmed by the precedent.

After years of stalling her release to a sanctuary, the Edmonton Valley Zoo might finally see Lucy die in its prison. Hopefully Lucy will serve as a reminder of the suffering caused by zoos that exploit elephants for profit and ignore the pleas of advocates fighting to do what's truly in the best interest of these magnificent animals.


The Edmonton Valley Zoo abuses sick and lonely Lucy
Credit: Lucy's Edmonton Advocates' Project

Supreme Court dismisses case involving ailing elephant in Edmonton zoo

December 19, 2019

The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear a case involving a 44-year-old ailing elephant, dashing the hopes of animal activists and likely confining her to the Edmonton Valley Zoo for the rest of her days. You can read it HERE!

Elise Stolte: Lonely Lucy now on daily pain meds.

But elephant impasse might also be cracking

June 26, 2019

But of course, nothing with the Lucy story is ever simple. You can read it HERE!

BREAKING NEWS: New EVZ Director meets with

LEAP President!

June 14, 2019

President and co-founder of LEAP, Mary-Ann Holm had a meeting with the new Edmonton Valley Zoo Director, Lindsey Galloway.  This is the first time the zoo has opened up to LEAP and Mary-Ann writes about it:

I have positive and encouraging news to report regarding Lucy. I had a meeting with the new Valley Zoo Director Lindsey Galloway. The meeting was friendly and very cordial. We agreed that both of us only want the best for Lucy. Mr. Galloway expressed to me that there is a willingness to relocate Lucy if at all possible, but of course he has a responsibility to ensure doing so would not cause her any harm, which we both were in agreement on. He feels the current medical prognosis clearly indicates her life would be at risk. Therefore he wants to ensure that the zoo obtains fresh information on that prognosis and that it intends to seek out updated assessments in the coming months by impartial authorities about Lucy's condition. He assured me there would be no predetermined outcomes and that he is looking at the matter and new evidence with "fresh eyes”. If she is fit to move, there must be reassurance that the receiving facility would be capable of providing the extensive medical care Lucy requires. He also committed to full transparency from the zoo and has committed to keeping us in the loop going forward. He also stated that caring for Lucy's specialized needs is a growing and significant challenge for the zoo.

I was impressed, we had an open and frank conversation and have committed to work collaboratively in the future. He assured me that Lucy’s best interests will be at the forefront going forward and I take him at his word. We also agreed that Lucy’s keepers are very dedicated and love her dearly and do their very best to take care of her. Should Lucy not be able to be transported safely following the expert reports, we agreed to work to improve her conditions.

For those who may not be aware. Mr. Galloway was the former director at the Calgary Zoo. He arrived around the time their elephants were being relocated. He is also the President of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).

So I ask our members to be respectful of Mr. Galloway and his staff and let’s hope this will mean a better future for Lucy going forward. We will keep you all posted as things develop.


Advocates for Lucy the elephant fail to convince courts to review her confinement conditions at Edmonton Zoo

MAY 28, 2019

For years, activists have been trying to get Lucy, the lone elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, relocated to warmer climes, claiming she’s unwell and lonely — but the latest legal effort by animal rights groups to force the courts to review the conditions of her confinement has failed. Read more HERE

Opinion: Let expert panel decide Lucy the elephant's fate

September 5, 2018

President and co-founder of LEAP, Mary-Ann Holm, had her Op-Ed piece published in

the Edmonton JournalThank you to Judy Malone for her assistance!

You can read it HERE!

LEAP interviewed by the Dodo!

August 10, 2018

President and co-founder of LEAP, Mary-Ann Holm, was interviewed by The Dodo for World Elephant Day to bring the focus in on Lucy and her captivity at the Edmonton Valley Zoo.  This publication brought a huge influx of members onto our Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter and much needed worldwide attention to Lucy's plight!  You can read it HERE!

The "LooseChange4Lucy" campaign began August 3 and is still underway with collection jars in the Edmonton area and Memphis, TN area.

"Pennies4Pachyderms" and "Change4Change" campaign efforts were started by fellow advocate Colby Steiner to give worldwide elephant supporters an opportunity to raise money and awareness about oppressed elephants and to show support for a favorite elephant sanctuary. Advocates place their personal jars in homes or places of business to raise funds for "their cause."

This Lucy jar is based in Memphis and funds collected from it will be sent to LEAP to help with the all-important advertising costs associated with spreading the word about Lucy.  

Dishonorable Mention - Repeat Offender

Edmonton Valley Zoo, Alberta, Canada 

Between a Stone-Cold Rock and a Hard Place

10 Worst Zoos for Elephants 2017 (click here)

If there's one entry on our list that just won't go away, it's Edmonton Valley Zoo. Here, poor Lucy, an Asian elephant, lives a lonely life of solitary confinement in a bone-chilling prison in one of the coldest cities in Canada. Lucy still suffers from health problems, which most - if not all - could be ameliorated with transfer to a warm-weather elephant sanctuary.

In 2016, Zoocheck and Voice For Animals launched a legal challenge to the issuance of the Edmonton Valley Zoo's annual provincial zoo permit requiring that the zoo comply with Alberta Zoo Standards. The action was aimed at achieving compliance with regional Zoo Standards, thereby resulting in the relief of Lucy's distress, ensuring a safer environment for her, as well as for visitors to the zoo.

Sadly, lawyers representing the Province of Alberta and the City of Edmonton argued that the animal welfare section of the Zoo Standards has no effect in law and is therefore unenforceable. And the presiding judge said that Alberta's Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, and Environment and Parks, are not responsible for ensuring that the zoo is in compliance with the standards before issuing the annual zoo permit. Zoocheck and Voice for Animals are currently appealing that decision. In the meantime, Lucy's fate hangs in the balance while there appears to be no accountability for her welfare. Will someone in charge please stand up?!

BREAKING NEWS on court case for Lucy

MAY 4, 2017 via ZOOCHECK

After several months of delays, we now have a date for the judicial review of the decision to give the Valley Zoo a permit because they continue to violate the Alberta Zoo Standards in regards to Lucy. December 8th 2017 we will finally get before a judge on the issue.

Lucy struggles to not slip on the snow December 2016

Photo Credit: Mary-Ann Holm

The DODO IMPACT posts new video of Lucy

MARCH 26, 2017 LEAP

The Dodo and the Dodo Impact have run a few stories about Lucy over the years.  This one struck a lot of our followers nerves as we certainly heard from you about it!  It's important to be accurate though, so please note, the image of Lucy 'swaying' is not Lucy (I believe it is actually Chai before she was moved from Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle).  While Lucy has been filmed showing signs of zoochosis, this particular image is NOT her.

View video by clicking here.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo makes the list yet again—10 Worst Zoos for Elephants 2016

January 16, 2017 LEAP

We are not surprised.

Read the list here:

10 Worst Zoos for Elephants 2016

Our civic politicians continue to have no regard for Lucy’s suffering and do nothing to change or improve her situation.

Here’s what they had to say about Lucy’s conditions:

“Lucy is a 41-year old Asian elephant who has spent the last 39 years living in one of the coldest cities in Canada. She is the most northern elephant in the world, and she has the arthritis, dental disease, and respiratory problems to prove it.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo continues to be non-compliant with Alberta’s Zoo Standards, yet the zoo’s permit was reissued this year by the Alberta government.

One of the many standards established by the Province requires that animals, “must be maintained in numbers sufficient to meet their social and behavioral needs,” yet Lucy remains alone with no elephant companions, in a barren, antiquated, and inadequate exhibit. Science has unequivocally demonstrated the devastating impacts from lack of same species companionship for such a highly intelligent and social animal. However, Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums continues to grant the Zoo a variance that allows it to keep a solitary elephant, and the government is failing to enforce standards that should be protecting her welfare.

Lucy remains, literally, between a rock and a cold, hard place. Winter temperatures in Edmonton are regularly sub zero, and this year dropped to -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Canada is no place for an elephant evolved for a tropical climate.

Lucy’s most essential needs as an elephant continue to be brazenly disregarded by her captors who insist on keeping her in their frozen prison as their main “attraction.” Traveling to and from her lonely barn, for short walks on frozen winter ground with her bullhook-toting zookeeper, Lucy lives a tragic existence for an elephant evolved to live in multi-generational herds and tropical weather.

This is the seventh consecutive year that Edmonton Valley Zoo has been featured on our list, and seven times too many for such egregious violations of elephant welfare.”

Animal rights group says Edmonton Valley Zoo one of the worst in the world for elephants

Edmonton Valley Zoo turns down donated coat for Lucy