Queenie the elephant was saved from abuse at a circus in 2009. In Defense of Animals (IDA) worked for two years trying to set her free from the circus owner’s property where she spent her days tethered to a tree. More than 40,000 animal lovers, including those from Care2, signed petitions and sent emails to the USDA. Unfortunately, Queenie’s rescue did not have a happy ending. Instead of being sent to a sanctuary she was moved to the San Antonio Zoo where she spent four years living in misery.
Veterinarians euthanized Queenie on March 10, due to health issues. A 53-year-old female Asian elephant named Lucky remains at the zoo, living in isolation in the outdated exhibit she shared with Queenie.
IDA is calling on animal lovers once again to help Queenie’s companion. They are urging the San Antonio Zoo to retire Lucky and compassionately move her to the sanctuary where Queenie should have lived out her last days.
Wilbur Davenport operated the Maximus “Tons of Fun” circus. He was charged with multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act related to the care of three elephants named Tina, Jewel and Queenie. The USDA seized Tina and Jewel and placed them in a new elephant habitat at the San Diego Zoo. Once under the care of veterinarians each elephant gained more than 300 pounds at the zoo’s care center.
Because Queenie appeared healthier than the others, she was not immediately removed from Davenport’s property.
It took another legal battle to win the release of Queenie. Both the PAWS sanctuary in California and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee were ready to accept her into their programs.
The USDA ignored IDA’s request to have Queenie go to a sanctuary and instead sent her to the San Antonio Zoo because the facility had an elephant (Lucky) living alone. The USDA struck a deal to place Queenie with her because elephants are social creatures that do not like living by themselves.
IDA warned that the zoo would find itself in “the same position as it is now—with a solitary elephant—when one of the elephants dies.” They argued that both elephants should be sent to the sanctuary.
Instead Queenie and Lucky spent the time in a small, outdated exhibit at the zoo; where they grew on each other’s nerves.
IDA said, “Compatibility issues between Queenie and Lucky ultimately led to intense stress and aggression between the two elephants in the zoo’s cramped exhibit.” The group worries the stress contributed to Queenie’s health problems.
Queenie’s last years were heartbreaking, but there could be a more humane future for Lucky. Please sign the petition below asking the San Antonio Zoo to make the compassionate choice and let Lucky spend her final years in the company of other elephants at a sanctuary.
PLEASE SIGN: HELP LUCKY THE ELEPHANT AT SAN ANTONIO ZOO
Photo Credit: cpence