Lucy the elephant needs to be moved out of the Edmonton Valley Zoo and into an elephant sanctuary, because she isn't getting the care she needs, an Edmonton veterinarian said Tuesday.
A 65-page report, which includes Lucy's medical records, was compiled by veterinarian Debi Zimmermann.
Lucy's quality of life would be greatly improved if she lived in a warmer climate with other elephants, Zimmermann said.
"It doesn't take a medical degree, but since I have one and in review of the records and the natural biology of elephants, it's just a no-brainer when you look at what they need and what's provided, " she said.
A number of animal rights activists have stated publicly that Lucy needs to be moved out of the zoo, but Zimmermann is the first veterinarian to take that position publicly.
Officials at the Valley Zoo dismiss Zimmermann's report. "No contact, no review of this elephant other than just to look at a written record — [it's] kind of disappointing really," said Dean Treichel, the supervisor of animal care at the zoo.
It's more important to take the advice of veterinarians who have actually examined Lucy, he said.
The zoo has a veterinarian with the same qualifications as Zimmermann who is involved with the elephant on a daily basis.
"My personal and professional reputation is on the line here, and I say Lucy's best situation right now is that she should remain here," Dr. Milton Ness said.
Moving the elephant in the near future is out of the question, because Lucy has respiratory problems and a move could prove fatal, both Ness and Treichel said.
They also dismiss claims that Lucy isn't being well cared for.
Canadian authors including Margaret Atwood and game show host and animal activist Bob Barker have also come forward and made a plea for Lucy to be moved from the Valley Zoo to a sanctuary in the U.S.