This ad from Zoocheck Canada will appear in Edmonton bus shelters this week. ((Zoocheck Canada))

Claims by an animal rights group that Edmonton rejected bus shelter ads aimed at getting Lucy the elephant moved from the Valley Zoo resulted from a misunderstanding, a city official says.

Zoocheck Canada had planned to launch the ads this week as a part of its longstanding campaign to get council to move Lucy from the city-owned zoo to an elephant sanctuary in the United States.

But Pattison Outdoor Advertising rejected the ads because it thought the city wouldn't approve them, according to city transportation spokesperson Ben Mittlesteadt.

"There is a minor misunderstanding between Zoocheck and Pattison," he said. "But the ads always have and always were 100 per cent approved by the City of Edmonton and ... Edmonton Transit System.

"The advertisements meet our advertising standards and have been cleared, so there will be Zoocheck ads on a couple of the bus shelters around the city."

An official with Pattison has apologized for the mistake. The ads will start appearing around the city later this week.


This billboard is part of an advertising campaign to be launched this week in Edmonton by Zoocheck Canada.

The campaign includes a billboard as well as the bus shelter ads.  The billboard ad shows a photo of Lucy, along with the message "Your tax dollars pay for her suffering."

Ads that will be seen in bus shelters say, "Isolation and a bitter cold winter on the way. Hasn't she endured enough?"

Zoocheck hopes the ads can persuade Edmontonians to put pressure on council to get Lucy moved.

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. Her health and isolation have prompted the campaign to have Lucy moved to one of two elephant sanctuaries in the United States.

Officials at the Valley Zoo have rebuffed offers to relocate Lucy, arguing a move could aggravate health problems, including a wrongly positioned molar in her mouth.