Riverbanks Zoo In South Carolina Is Closing Their Elephant Exhibit Which Landed On In Defense of Animals’ “Worst Zoo” List

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In Defense of Animals has welcomed the recent announcement by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina, that it will be closing its elephant exhibit.

In 2017, the facility was placed on In Defense of Animals’ annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants In North America, following the death of two elephants within six months of each other. Petunia was euthanized at age 44 in December of 2016 after she was found in her exhibit unable to stand. A second elephant, 37-year-old Penny, died at the zoo in May 2017.

Two remaining elephants at Riverbanks Zoo, Belle and Robin, will be sent to a new location which has reportedly not yet been determined. In Defense of Animals is calling for the elephants to be retired to a sanctuary.

“We are overjoyed that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has finally acknowledged that its elephant exhibit is not suitable for remaining elephants Belle and Robin,” Marilyn Kroplick M.D., President of In Defense of Animals, said in a statement. “When two relatively young elephants die within six months of each other, there is clearly a problem. Riverbanks Zoo is making the right decision to close its elephant exhibit, and we urge the Zoo to send Belle and Robin to an accredited sanctuary where they can enjoy peace, privacy and a more natural environment than zoos can provide.”

“This is a victory for elephants and for members of the public who have become aware that captive facilities are no place for wild animals,” stated Laura Bridgeman, Director of In Defense of Animals’ elephant campaign.

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