Target: James Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo
Goal: Release Happy the Elephant from captivity and send her to a sanctuary.
A 44-year-old Asian elephant named Happy has been held in solitary confinement at the Bronx zoo for 10 years. Happy was kidnapped from her birthplace in the early 1970s and shipped to the U.S. along with six other baby elephants. She was delivered to the Bronx Zoo in 1977, according to the New York Times.
For 25 years, Happy shared an enclosure with another elephant named Grumpy, during which time the two animals grew very close. Grumpy was euthanized in 2002, after another elephant attacked her. Happy then spent a few years with a younger female named Sammy, until Sammy died of liver disease in 2006. Since Sammy’s death, Happy has lived in isolation as the zookeepers do not think she can learn to get along with the other two remaining elephants. This is problematic for a number of self-evident reasons.
According to PETA, “elephants’ social and physical needs simply cannot be met in confinement. In captivity, they often show signs of boredom and psychosis, along with physical ailments such as obesity, foot problems and arthritis, which can cause intense suffering and premature death.”
Several zookeepers at the Bronx Zoo have said that they have witnessed Happy swaying and bobbing her head, a sign of neurosis. A study by the Honolulu Zoo found that around 85 percent of elephants held in American zoos exhibit this behavior, confirming long-held suspicions that zoos cannot provide adequate care for these intelligent and social animals.
Despite pressure from animal rights organizations, Bronx Zoo Director James Breheny has refused to send Happy to a reputable elephant sanctuary, claiming that she is better off in his care, which is ludicrous. It is high time that Happy is released from her solitary confinement and delivered to a place where she can experience the physical and psychological fulfillment she so covets and deserves. Please sign the below petition, urging the Bronx Zoo to finally liberate Happy.
Many people are disturbed by the plight of Happy, the 44-year-old elephant that is kept isolated at your zoo. As I’m sure you know, elephants are remarkably intelligent and social animals. In the wild they form tight-knit herds and unbreakable bonds with one another. Studies have shown that entire herds of elephants mourn the death of a companion.
These social and emotional needs cannot be provided by zoos, particularly when an elephant is forced to live all alone, as Happy has been forced to do for the last decade. When deprived of camaraderie, elephants oftentimes become depressed and neurotic, just like humans do.
Please do not let Happy die alone. Like all animals, she deserves the opportunity to experience real fulfillment and happiness, and you alone have the power to give her that opportunity. I urge you to release Happy to a reputable elephant sanctuary as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Fruggo