Target: Dickerson Park Zoo
Goal: Place dangerous and distressed elephant with an animal sanctuary
Another tragic attack on a zookeeper has left a man dead. John Bradford, a senior zookeeper at Dickerson Park Zoo, was accidentally struck by Patience, a female elephant, as she suddenly swung her head. Bradford died at the scene. The zoo intends to keep its elephants despite clearly distressed behavior.
Patience was captured from the wild as a youth, and has been moved between circuses and zoos before being placed at Dickerson Park Zoo where she shares a small 1.5 acre cage with four other elephants. In the wild, elephants can travel up to 30 miles a day, while in captivity they can only travel a fraction of this.
Elephants are very family-oriented creatures. Patience’s baby was taken from her at 18 months of age, when it would generally stay under her care until adolescence, and nurse until at least five years of age. The baby elephant died six months later at a Six Flags park. Pinky, the matriarch elephant, recently showed a decline in health and suddenly died, causing another blow to Patience’s livelihood.
Dickerson Park Zoo has seen many animal deaths over the past years, as well as this most recent human death. Eight of the ten elephants born at the zoo have perished due to a virus that has been linked to the stress of captivity. The zoo was also reprimanded for abusing the elephants when bull hook wounds were found on some of the animals.
Captive animals are subject to stress, anxiety, and unnatural conditions that can cause the creatures to become disturbed or insane. It is unsafe to keep such large animals in enclosed environments where they can become frightened or spooked easily. Your signature will demand that the Dickerson Park Zoo’s elephants are surrendered to an animal sanctuary where they can enjoy a decent quality of life, free from abuse, disease, and stress.
Dear Dickerson Park Zoo,
The recent tragic death of a senior zookeeper in your facilities has highlighted the danger of keeping large animals out of their natural environments. Patience, a female elephant, struck John Bradford causing death. Prolonged captivity can cause mental distress, confusion, and erratic behavior in animals.
A large percent of elephants born at the Dickerson Park Zoo have perished due to captivity-related disease. The zoo has also been disciplined for the use of bull hooks on elephants. Patience’s son was taken from her care prematurely only to die six months later in another exhibit.
Elephants are sentient and highly intelligent creatures. Disregarding their emotions and well being by keeping them in captivity is unfair and unsafe. I demand that the Dickerson Park Zoo surrender its elephants to a qualified sanctuary in the interest of safety for all parties involved.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: David W. Siu via Creative Commons