Canadian actor William Shatner is calling for the City of Edmonton to move Lucy the Asian elephant out of the city-run Valley Zoo, a major animal rights group announced Tuesday.
In a letter addressed to Mayor Stephen Mandel on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Shatner said he is adding to a "crescendo of voices" calling for Lucy to be moved.
"Edmonton can capably take care of its own. Yet, in a larger sense, these extraordinary animals are everybody's responsibility," Shatner writes. "I humbly ask you to allow Lucy to retire to better circumstances than at the Edmonton Zoo … she's old, feeble and many of us know how that feels. I hope you don't mind my intruding but the cause is just."
Shatner, the latest high-profile individual to call for the city to move Lucy out of the zoo, is best known for playing characters such as Capt. James T. Kirk on Star Trek and Denny Crane on Boston Legal.
Earlier this year, retired U.S. game show host and animal rights advocate Bob Barker wrote a letter to Edmonton city council urging the city to move the elephant after the case was brought to his attention by Zoocheck Canada.
In May, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Nico Ricci, Jane Urquhart, Barbara Gowdy and 31 other Canadian authors called on Edmonton's mayor and council to move Lucy.
Lucy is the only elephant in a Canadian zoo that lives alone. She has been on her own since September 2007, when the Valley Zoo's other elephant, Samantha, was moved to be part of a breeding program at a zoo in North Carolina.
The elephant has lived at the zoo for most of her life.
Animal rights advocates believe Lucy's health is poor. Records obtained by Zoocheck Canada suggest the elephant is facing a number of problems, including foot infections and arthritis. Her health and isolation have prompted the campaign to have Lucy moved to one of two elephant sanctuaries in the United States where she can interact with other elephants.
Officials at the Valley Zoo have rebuffed offers to relocate Lucy, arguing a move could aggravate her health problems, including a wrongly positioned molar in her mouth.