A young girl watches as Asian elephant Lucy walks around the Edmonton Valley Zoo on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Two elephant trainers were with Lucy but out of frame.
David Bloom / Postmedia
An animal advocacy group believes Lucy the elephant is now too sick to move after petitioning the city and the Edmonton Valley Zoo for more than a decade to move the animal to a more comfortable facility.Zoocheck Canada is warning supporters even if they are granted the right to move Lucy, she may now be too sick to do so after obtaining copies of her medical records.“She is now, for all intents and purposes, being kept alive on medication the way a palliative care patient is treated,” said the group in a message posted to Facebook.“In the past year, Lucy has been put on a daily dose of opioids to manage her pain caused by foot and joint problems.”Zoocheck said they had a “globally respected, independent veterinarian with extensive elephant experience” review Lucy’s records.City officials, however, disagree with the group’s characterization of Lucy’s health.Valley Zoo director Lindsey Galloway said “it’s ridiculous” to compare Lucy to a palliative care patient.“She’s in good overall conditions. Lucy has no life-threatening conditions,” he said, adding that her keepers expect her to live for many years.The zoo is also looking at getting a fresh perspective on Lucy’s condition.“This fall, we are getting ready to do a fresh medical assessment,” said Galloway.He has also been in talks with Lucy’s Edmonton Advocates’ Project (LEAP), a local advocacy group for the elephant.LEAP, for its part, is still hopeful and president Mary-Ann Holm said in a Facebook post the group has been aware of Lucy’s opioid treatment for some time now.“We are at least grateful that her painful conditions are being managed,” Holm said. “But this is not over yet and we are far from giving up.”Holm said LEAP will continue to work with the city and the zoo to move Lucy to a facility with a better climate as soon as possible.