Breaking! The Transfer Of Two Asian Elephants From Canada To Texas Is Canceled Following In Defense Of Animals’ Ranking Of 2020’s Worst Zoos

Following the release of In Defense of Animals’ annual list of the 10 Worst Zoo’s for Elephants in North America, the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas has canceled a $2 million dollar deal with African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada, to purchase two female Asian Elephants.

The Fort Worth Zoo was ranked as the #2 Worst Zoo in North America, and African Lion Safari was listed as 2020’s #1 Worst Zoo for Elephants. The theme park imprisons more Asian elephants in North America than any other facility, with 16 Asian elephants who have been forced to produce 21 calves.

The Fort Worth Zoo intended to breed eight-year-old Nellie and fifteen-year-old Emily. The Zoo reportedly would have paid an additional $200,000 to African Lion Safari if a calf was born.

“We welcome Fort Worth Zoo’s actions to cancel its purchase of Nellie and Emily from African Lion Safari,” Will Anderson, In Defense of Animals Elephant Campaign Coordinator, said in a statement sent to WAN. “This dirty deal would have caused many elephants a great deal of trauma and put a dangerous price on the head of every wild and captive elephant, including those at circuses which profit from sales to zoos.”

Had this sale gone through, it would have been the most lucrative elephant deal ever known. Sadly, deals like this one expose how the zoo industry drives the trade in elephants who suffer from serial ‘transfer trauma,’ abusive breeding, and endless captivity. It would have seen Nellie separated from her mother, and Emily from her six-year-old calf, Gigi. In the wild, females stay with their fa`milies their entire lives.

Fort Worth Zoo’s financial offer also incentivizes circuses and theme parks like African Lion Safari to increase their rate of cruel and often invasive breeding procedures so they may sell the babies into captive confinement. It also encourages countries with wild elephants to kidnap them from the wild and sell them into servitude.

“We encourage all zoos to acknowledge the suffering caused to elephants by captivity and to commit to shutting down their exhibits,” concluded Anderson. “We recommend one final transfer of all the elephants at Fort Worth Zoo and African Lion Safari to a GFAS- accredited sanctuary where they will never be bred, exhibited to tourists, or face the threat of being separated from their family.”

“We are thrilled that for a second year running, our 10 Worst Zoos list has played a role in stopping the forced separation of bonded elephants,” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “Some zoos, like African Lion Safari, are operating like elephant-trafficking cartels. We hope that Canada will pass Senator Sinclair’s ‘Jane Goodall Act’ to end zoo abuse of elephants, and give them a better chance at survival in the wild where they belong.”

In Defense of Animals encourages people to avoid visiting any elephant attraction and urges zoos to phase out their exhibits and send elephants to accredited sanctuaries where their needs are prioritized over profits.

The 10 Worst Zoos in 2020, according to In Defense of Animals, also include:

Pittsburgh Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA

Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, NY

Monterey Zoo, Salinas, CA

Myrtle Beach Safari, Myrtle Beach, SC

Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA

Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN

Cameron Park Zoo, Waco, TX

Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT

Dishonorable Mention: 

Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Syracuse, NY

More information on the 10 Worst Zoos For Elephants in North America is available HERE!

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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