How many trips have you made to the San Antonio Zoo? How many times have you strolled past one of the zoo's biggest attractions and taken for granted that you are standing on the other side of that fence?
Elephants are no ordinary animals. They require the social interactions, affection, space, and freedom that any social species requires to live a mentally and physically healthy life. Unfortunately for the Asian elephant, Lucky - the oldest living elephant ever to take up quarters in the San Antonio Zoo - she has not interacted with an elephant of her own species in over two years.
Lucky the elephant has been the center of attention for groups such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the San Antonio Vegetable Eaters (S.A.V.E.), and . The San Antonio People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
In June 2016, Lucky received a new roommate, Nicole, a 40-year old Asian elephant and a retired circus performer. The San Antonio Zoo welcomed in Nicole as a part of their new partnership with the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation.
However, despite feeling assured that Lucky will be in close contact with one of her kin, San Antonio animal rights groups are outraged that another elephant will be subject to the same fate as Lucky.
What fate is that? One of the biggest concerns is the confined space in which Lucky is residing. The San Antonio has accommodated less than an acre of space for the large female elephant to roam. Now she will be sharing these quarters with a roommate.
According to the Smithosian's research on Asian elephants in the wild, most females will roam a minimum of 10,000 feet in their natural habitat.
However, according to Global Elephants in 2014, they needed to create at least 400 square kilometers of space to accommodate the needs of their Asian Elephants.