Despite what Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny has to say (that Happy is happy) Happy the elephant, brought up in the confines of The Bronx Zoo since 1977, cannot possibly express that sentiment regarding her enclosure which provides the pachyderm with “far less than even 1 percent of the space she would roam in the wild, in a single day.”
After Happy was separated from the other female elephants, who are also part of The Bronx Zoo’s Asia Exhibit, another natural instinct of a wild elephant, that of being a part of an elephant herd, was taken away.
But something happened in 2002 with Grumpy and the other two female elephants. For some reason, not specified, Maxine and Patty became ‘Mean Girl’ elephants and in a confrontation with Grumpy, caused his death.
For the following four years, Happy’s companion was Sammy but sadly, in 2006 he died, too. This left Happy a solitary elephant as Maxine and Patty have been kept in different “holding pens” all of these years out of fear the girls would not get along. This is enough, Breheny says, to satisfy the elephants’ daily requirement of “tactile and auditory contact” amongst themselves.
Not so says the Nonhuman Rights Project, an animal welfare group who has filed the lawsuit on behalf of Happy. They understand that elephants need to be elephants. They understand that captive elephants need to be given the chance to roam freely amongst others of their own species on spacious grounds. And that means an elephant sanctuary in the USA.
Elephants are sentient beings; captivity does not take their natural instincts away. The time has come for elephants to no longer be part of an exhibit in a zoo’s display. And we do understand that elephants bond with their keepers as zoo elephant Shirley did with her keeper, Solomon James.
Mr. Jim Breheny, this is not a “ludicrous legal argument” brought forward by the NRP. It is a valid lawsuit to free an elephant named Happy from her dismal life (and unnatural for an elephant, even if the pachyderm was born in captivity) in a zoo.
Do the right thing for Happy and be the example for the keepers of other elephants held in captivity. Follow Solomon James‘ lead and help this elephant live the life of an elephant for as many years as she has left.
Find the goodness in your heart and arrange to send Happy (and eventually Maxine and Patty) to a reputable elephant sanctuary. Give Happy the life every captive elephant deserves, and a chance to feel the emotion for which she was named.
Resource: “Zoo elephant is being ‘unlawfully imprisoned,’ group says” by AP The Daily Mail
Resource: “Bronx Zoo Elephant Is Being ‘Unlawfully Imprisoned,’ Advocacy Group Says” by Verena Dobnik
Watch Video: “Bronx Zoo Elephant Is Being ‘Unlawfully Imprisoned,’Advocacy Group Says” “An animal welfare group says an elephant named Happy who has lived alone since her mate was fatally injured is being “unlawfully imprisoned” by the Bronx Zoo. Rana Novini reports.”
Images: Associated Press photos at The Daily Mail