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Queenie endured a lifetime of ill-treatment at the hands of the circus industry before she was sent to the San Antonio Zoo in April, to an exhibit already far too cramped for one elephant, let alone two. The San Antonio Zoo held its only surviving Asian elephant, Lucky, in solitary confinement for two years since the death of her companion. Given both elephants' documented aggressive natures, this was obviously a horrible decision on the USDA's part. 

Despite massive protests, the zoo has refused to do right by Lucky and send her to a sanctuary where she can live in a spacious, natural environment with others of her species

Please ask them to retire Lucky and Queenie (Boo) from the San Antonio Zoo and send them to a sanctuary.

Letter to
Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Mayor Julian Castro
San Antonio Zoo
and 2 others
Councilwoman Elisa Chan
Associate APHIS Administrator at the USDA Kevin Shea
I am dismayed that Queenie (Boo) and Lucky are still being held at the San Antonio Zoo. Queenie, who was acquired through a confiscation by the USDA involving Will Davenport in Leggett, Texas, has an extensive background in the circus industry. She has been physically and mentally abused for decades and requires the specialized rehabilitative care that only a sanctuary can provide. She should have been sent to the most suitable place for her, namely to the PAWS Sanctuary, which was ready to give Queenie a lifetime home, away from the stress of public exhibition. Confiscated elephants should not be placed back into the stress of public exhibition, in confined, cramped spaces with little social stimulation and limited access to a natural environment.

The San Antonio Zoo does not meet even the minimum requirements for adequate elephant care, and has indeed been cited for its neglect of another elephant, Lucky, who has been subjected to insufficient surroundings, imprisoned in an inadequately-sized area, provided no comforts, and given no positive interaction. Both Lucky and Queenie have histories of not getting along with other elephants. Putting them together in an antiquated and too-small display is a recipe for disaster. The key to safely and successfully integrating elephants’ starts with space and plenty of it

Elephants are intensely social animals who need companionship in order to thrive. Free-ranging elephants live in large matriarchal family groups in which females remain with their mothers for life. Experience has shown that solitary elephants can turn into social butterflies in sanctuary settings, yet the San Antonio Zoo stubbornly continue to isolate Lucky and Queenie in an outdated exhibit far too small to meet their natural needs. The enclosure is inadequate - Queenie and Lucky deserve a better life.

The San Antonio Zoo must send these elephants to a certified sanctuary without delay. Queenie and Lucky should be allowed to find solitude in a natural habitat with more than 100 times the space they currently have on display at the zoo, so they may live their final years in peace.


Carin Zellerman started this petition with a single signature, and now has 973 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.