Breaking! Buffalo Zoo In New York Closes Its Deplorable Elephant Exhibit Leaving Jothi & Supara A Step Closer To Retiring At A Sanctuary

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Photo by Avery Schneider, WBFO News

The Buffalo Zoo in New York is shutting down its miserable elephant exhibit!

Officials announced yesterday that Asian elephants Jothi and Supara will move from Buffalo Zoo, which has appeared five times on In Defense of Animals 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants list over the last decade, to a zoo in New Orleans this fall.

“We are delighted that Buffalo Zoo will let Jothi and Supara thaw out in a more suitable climate. In Defense of Animals has actively and arduously worked to free these elephants from their decrepit, unsuitable zoo conditions for over a decade,” Elephant specialist Dr. Toni Frohoff said in a statement emailed to WAN. “This is a positive move for Jothi and Supara, but we will continue to work to get them to an accredited elephant sanctuary where they can live as elephants instead of exhibits.”

The announcement comes nearly two weeks after In Defense of Animals submitted requests for the elephants’ most recent medical records to the Buffalo Zoo and the City of Buffalo.

The Buffalo Zoo most recently appeared on In Defense of Animal’s 10 Worst Zoo’s list in 2016 as the sixth worst zoo in North America for elephants. Despite reported renovations, the living conditions for elephants at the brutally cold and barren Buffalo Zoo have been a daily challenge for Jothi and Supara.

The two elephants will be healthier in a more suitable climate at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and no longer be forced to endure Buffalo’s long, hard winters. In recent years temperatures around Buffalo Zoo have dropped to an arctic -11°F, a far cry from their natural tropical and sub-tropical climates. The pair endured months of lack of exercise, in a tiny paltry prison enclosure where they were forced to on hard surfaces that harm the feet and joints of elephants; a noted cause of captivity-induced pain, illness, and early mortality.

As in similar cases of captive animals, the elephants’ had been observed swaying on the spot, a persistently repetitive motion known as “stereotyped behavior” that indicates intense stress and poor welfare, natural environments.

When Jothi and Supara are relocated in the fall, the Bronx Zoo in New York will become the last zoo to hold Asian elephants captive in New York. Three Asian elephants remain at the Bronx Zoo; sadly, suffering many of the same issues as Buffalo Zoo elephants. The harsh and unnatural climate causes yearly suffering for all the elephants, one of whom is kept cruelly deprived in solitary isolation.

Like Buffalo Zoo, the Bronx Zoo has repeatedly been listed on In Defense of Animals list of 10 Worst Zoos.

“Buffalo Zoo has made a positive move for these animals and brought New York a step closer to being free of elephant abuse. Three other Asian elephants are still suffering in New York’s freezing winter climate at the Bronx zoo,” said Dr. Marilyn Kroplick, president of In Defense of Animals. “We call on the Bronx zoo to have compassion and release the elephants to a sanctuary where they can retire in peace.”

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