Target: Karl Mogensen, Owner of Natural Bridge Zoo
Goal: Release zoo’s mistreated elephant to the care of an elephant sanctuary
Asha the elephant lives at the Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia and has spent nearly a decade without the companionship of other elephants and without the treatment she deserves. Asha should be able to live out her days in an elephant sanctuary where she can have companionship and humane treatment.
Animal rights group In Defense of Animals (IDA) listed the Natural Bridge Zoo as the worst zoo for elephants in 2014 based on its horrendous treatment of Asha. According to IDA, patrons of the zoo witnessed Asha being beaten with a bull hook on numerous occasions, once with the hook in her mouth.
The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) even cited the zoo for its abuse of Asha in 2007, fining the zoo $10,000 for its poor animal care. The Natural Bridge Zoo was inspected 15 times under the Animal Welfare Act between December 2012 and January 2015, according to the USDA. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lodged at least six complaints against the zoo between July 2013 and December 2014, with allegations ranging from improper housing for Asha to starving its bears to artificially induce hibernation.
In addition to Asha’s poor treatment, she is the zoo’s only elephant and has been for almost 10 years. Elephants are highly social animals with complex family structures. To hold an elephant captive without any members of its kind to keep it company is tantamount to solitary confinement, which would be considered torture if arbitrarily enforced on a human.
Asha has spent too much time already in such horrid conditions. She deserves to be with members of her kind and the many abuses visited her must end. Sign this petition demanding Asha be released into the care of an elephant sanctuary.
Dear Mr. Mogensen,
PETA has lodged multiple complaints against the Natural Bridge Zoo and In Defense of Animals has placed it at the top of its list of the 10 worst zoos for elephants. The USDA has conducted multiple inspections and the zoo has incurred fines for poor animal care. Still, complaints about the treatment of the zoo’s animals, and Asha the elephant in particular, are continually directed at the Natural Bridge Zoo.
Patrons and activists have witnessed the heavy, and inappropriate, use of bull hooks in Asha’s training. She remains the only elephant at the zoo, in exile from her kind, even though it is well known that elephants are highly social and require interaction with other elephants to lead full lives.
I urge you to release Asha to the care of an elephant sanctuary to ensure her needs are fully met.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Christoph via Pixabay