Ms. Connor's points about Edmonton's winter climate are echoed by Friends of Lucy and many advocates, who would like to see Lucy transferred to a warmer-climate sanctuary like PAWS in California or The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
While a coat may shield Lucy somewhat from the cold and wind chill during her walks, the only true solution for Lucy is sanctuary - for her to live in a warmer climate with the ability to socialize with other female Asian elephants, make her own decisions on where to roam, improve her health from walking vast acres of soft earth, and to have a sanctuary's stellar veterinary care and 24/7 monitoring.
The zoo's denial of a coat for Lucy has not only sparked outrage amongst elephant advocates on social media, it has them emailing Edmonton's Mayor and City Council, since the city owns the zoo. Advocates and experts want an independent evaluation of Lucy's health which could clear the way for Lucy to go to a U.S. sanctuary.
For years, the Valley Zoo has claimed Lucy is fine at the zoo, but suffers an undiagnosed "respiratory condition" that precludes any travel for Lucy - while refusing to allow an independent exam to substantiate this claim.
Advocates hope the new city administration will be more compassionate about Lucy's well-being and open-minded about the options available to her. An independent exam and transfer to a US sanctuary is offered at no cost to the city.
The last three surviving Toronto Zoo elephants were safely transferred to the PAWS sanctuary in 2013 and are showing marked improvements in their health, vitality and quality of life.
Lucy deserves the same retirement at a U.S. sanctuary as the Toronto Zoo elephants. As Canadians, those of us at Friends of Lucy can certainly attest to the fact that Canada is no place for elephants.