Despite claims that the City Council will on April 11, 2006 vote and finalize plans to keep Connie & Shaba at the Reid Park Zoo, we believe a vote will not take place because this item is not on the Council's agenda for this date. So .. in other words


The City of Tucson has many financial deficits and programs that have either been cut or are grossly under funded. Tucson's crime and poverty rates are significantly higher than the national average and higher than other similarly-size boarder cities.

It is fiscally irresponsible for the City Council to take out interest-baring loans (i.e. bonds or certificates) in order to fund construction of another inadequate enclosure for elephants.

Please come to the Council meeting this Tuesday to tell them that the elephant expansion is not a priority and that Tucson cannot provide elephants with the space they need.

Tuesday April 11, 3pm, Council Chambers, City Hall
At the STUDY session the Zoo is the first agenda item and they will be presenting their proposal for how they plan to fund ZooSchool and the "African Expansion." Public comments will be taken during the regular council meeting .
You must arrive early to get a speaker card (Zoo supporters arrive very early).

Tuesday April 18, 5:30p, Council Chambers, City Hall
The formal budget for the city will be presented during the council meeting - Included in it will be funding for the Zoo's proposed expansion.

Please gather EVERYONE you know and get them down to the City Hall!!!!

City hall is located at 255 W. Alameda. Instead of going in the main entrance, go around to the left and through the entrance marked "Council Meeting."

Thank you!


After Months of Performing Invasive Procedures on Shaba, Zoo Unexpectedly Cancels Program Citing "Health Concerns"

Zoo Cancels Breeding Program

Since October of last year, the Zoo has routinely conducted highly-invasive physical procedures on Shaba in preparation for artificial insemination. Shaba has regularly been subjected to having her hind legs shackled, hour-long enemas, rectal examines whereby zoo keepers insert their entire arm up her anus, rectal palpitations, blood samplings and other highly-invasive procedures.
After months of these procedures, the Zoo is now citing “health concerns” to discontinue the breeding program.

Exactly what “new research” came out in the last week that the Zoo didn’t know months ago?

Artificial insemination is an invasive procedure with a low probability of resulting in a live birth and high risks of complications for the mother.
This fact was known last October when the Zoo began preparing Shaba for the procedure and it was known last June when the AZA pushed to have Shaba breed, the impetus for proposing a new elephant enclosure in the first place.

Reproductive problems are just one on the captivity-induced health problems created by zoo conditions.
Zoo-industry scientific papers have been available for years documenting risks and problems associated with trying to breed elephants in zoos.

With public debate and controversy increasing regarding the Zoo’s proposed $8.5-million elephant exhibit expansion, questions are raised as to whether backroom dealings played a role in the Zoo’s recent announcement in an effort to sacrifice the lives of Connie and Shaba to keep the elephants on exhibit.

Did the Zoo start a breeding program without proper research?
Or, is it possible the Zoo’s announcement is a “deal” in an effort to delay finding millions of tax dollars needed for the Zoo’s ill-conceived elephant proposal since the Zoo cannot raise the money?


On January 25, 2006 Toni, a 40 year old Asian elephant living at the National Zoo in DC, was killed by the Zoo because her captivity-induced health problems had become so severe: 
Toni's Death

ONLY 5 DAYS EARLIER in another article, to refute activists claims that Toni needed to be sent to The Elephant Sanctuary, the National Zoo implied that her health situation was not serious stating that "Toni is responding to treatment [for arthritis] and could live for several more years." 
National Zoo Refutes Activists' Claims

Shaba and Connie
are facing the same fate.

The National Zoo intentionally mislead the public about the seriousness of Toni's condition and denied that she had any of the problems the activists alleged - and then killed her a less then a week later.  They chose preserving the status quo of the zoo industry instead of the morally right course of putting Toni's needs first and releasing her to the Sanctuary where she could be rehabilitated. 

While Connie and Shaba are in better health then Toni was,
they do suffer from of the same captivity induced problems that contributed to Toni’s death.
Like the National Zoo, Reid Park has shown with their counter leaflet and media interviews that they too are willing to mislead the public into thinking both elephants are fine.  If Connie and Shaba remain at Reid Park Zoo their condition will deteriorate until they die prematurely just like Toni.




"[Even under the best of conditions], elephants are actually very poor candidates for live in captivity...[I doubt] if a dozen elephants worldwide are in truely good phychological, behavioral, and social conditions. Their requirements are so substantial - it is probably beyond the capabilities of most zoos to even begin to resolve them."
- David Handcocks, former director of the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington

"Foot-related conditions and arthritis are the leading cause of euthanasia in captive elephants in the United States.
Activity allows the elephant to wear down the structures of the feet normally. In the wild, elephants move or walk up to 18 hours daily in search of food and water. Although captive elephants may have large enclosures, they do not need to, and sometimes they cannot or often will not, move around. This contributes to the development of foot disease and arthritis."
- Gary West, DVM, Oklahoma City Zoo

"No captive situation, however attractive it may appear to a human, can possibly be adequate for the needs of an elephant in terms of space. An example is our 10-year-old bull, Imenti, who walked 84 miles in 14 hours, turned around and walked back 100 miles in search of a friend. Even Tsavo, which is 8,000 square miles in extent, can be traversed by elephants in a matter of days - and is."
- Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, DVM, MBE, MBS, 1992 UNEP Global 500 Laureate, has worked with elephants for 50 years, both in the wild and captive situations; she is a leading authority on African elephants

"There are no substitutes for walking in a restricted environment, no enrichment strategies that motivate a captive elephant sufficiently, no boomer balls or tire that replace walking and no food dispensers that will create activity patterns in elephants that even come close to being beneficial to the long-term management of captive elephants"
- Walking, Outline of USDA Elephant Course, Seattle, August 3, 1998


Eight other AZA Zoos have recognized that they cannot adequately provide for the needs of elephants and have closed their exhibits, sending their elephants to either The Elephant Sanctuary or PAWS.
Encourage the Reid Park Zoo to be the next one to make this humane choice

Chehaw's Zoo
Albany, GA (Tange and Zula - TES)
Detroit Zoo
Detroit, MI (Winky and Wanda - PAWS)
El Paso Zoo
El Paso, TX (Sissy - TES)
The Henry Vilas Zoo
Madison, WI (Winkie - TES)
The Mesker Park Zoo
Evansville, IN (Bunny - TES)
Milwaukee Zoo
Milwaukee, WI (Tammy and Annie - PAWS)
Portland Zoo
Portland, OR (Tina - TES)
San Francisco Zoo
San Francisco, CA (Tinkerbelle and Lulu - PAWS)



Please Help the Elephants at Reid Park Zoo


The Reid Park Zoo wants taxpayers to spend over $8 million to build a new exhibit for the elephants. The Zoo's proposal to build a 7-acre exhibit will not adequately address the vast spatial and social needs of elephants. In the wild, elephants can travel 30 miles per day; this freedom and constant movement is essential for their physical and psychological good health. There are 640 acres in just one square mile.

Tucson's small, 17-acre zoo is home to 500 animals. The Zoo's elephant proposal will hurt other animals living at the Zoo by diverting funds and space these animals need. By sending the elephants to The Elephant Sanctuary, at no cost to the city of Tucson, we can free up space, resources, and money to improve conditions for other animals, such as the bears and wild cats, who also suffer in inadequate exhibits.

Connie & Shaba confined to less than 1/2 acre for more than 25 years

Zoo Conditions Cause Health Problems For Elephants
Captivity and the lack of space in zoos create health problems in elephants such as arthritis, foot and joint diseases, psychological problems (e.g. stereotypic swaying), skin ailments, and reproductive problems. Elephants in zoos are suffering and dying prematurely and even the largest U.S. zoo enclosure for elephants is less than 8 acres, woefully inadequate for the largest land mammal.

In captivity, adequate exercise is impossible. The importance of exercise to good health in elephants is widely known.

"The absence of walking ... must have dramatic long-term effect on the elephants' physical and mental stability and must ultimately affect its longevity and propagation."
- 1998, USDA elephant course document

Solution: Send Connie & Shaba To The Sanctuary
39-year-old Connie and 26-year-old Shaba have spent nearly their entire lives confined on less than ˝ acre at the Reid Park Zoo. They were both intentionally taken from their families and homes in the wild as babies specifically for the zoo industry. In the wild, female elephants never leave their mothers; they spend their entire lives in a herd composed of their mother, grandmother, aunts, and sisters. Instead Connie has lived in the cramped Zoo enclosure since she was a 1 year-old baby and Shaba since she was a 2 year old.

Connie and Shaba have also been deprived of contact with other elephants of their own species since being taken from their families, only adding to the psychological stress they endure as a result of their captivity. Connie is an Asian elephant and Shaba is an African. In the wild they would never meet. Science has shown that these two species have incredibly different needs, behaviors, and even language. Elephants are highly social creatures and the lack of interaction with their own kind is a psychologically damaging situation for Connie and Shaba.

The lack of space at the zoo is an unhealthy situation for elephants. If these elephants are not sent to the sanctuary where they can be with other elephants of their own kind and have access to hundreds of acres of natural habitat to move freely, they will suffer from captivity-induced psychological and physical health problems and die premature deaths - the sad fate of the majority of other elephants in zoos.

The City and people of Tucson own the animals at the Reid Park Zoo. Therefore, Tucson is responsible for the well-being of the animals under its care. We must put the interests of the animals first. We are morally obligated to transfer the elephants to a more suitable environment since the best care cannot be provided at the Zoo.

Urge Tucson City Council To Do the Right Thing!

Please call, email, and fax the City Council & Reid Park Zoo - urge them to take immediate action to transfer the two city-owned elephants at the Zoo to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where they will have free access to hundreds of acres of natural habitat.

Councilmember Steve Leal; Tel: (520) 791-4231; Fax: (520) 791-3188
E-Mail: ward5@tucsonaz.gov

Councilmember Jose Ibarra; Tel: (520) 791-4040; Fax: (520) 791-5393
E-Mail: jose.ibarra@tucsonaz.gov

Councilmember Karin Uhlich; Tel: (520) 791-4711; Fax: (520) 791-5391
E-Mail: ward3@tucsonaz.gov

Councilmember Shirley Scott; Tel: (520) 791-3199; Fax: (520) 791-4717
E-Mail: ward4@tucsonaz.gov

Councilmember Nina Trasoff; Tel: (520) 791-3211; Fax: (520) 791-3211
E-Mail: ward6@tucsonaz.gov

Call the Mayor and City Council Comment Line! Tel: (520) 791-4700

Other Ways You Can Help!

Volunteer with Save Tucson Elephants!
Gather Signatures and Help Educate the Public!
Have Your Local Organization Offer Their Support!

If you are interested in helping in any way please email us at the address below!

Recent Media on Save Tucson Elephants!

Arizona Daily Star: Give Elephants At Zoo All The African Zone Land

Arizona Daily Star: My Opinion Jim Kizer

Arizona Daily Star: Elephants' Fate On Agenda

Tucson Weekly, The Skinny: Off The Mommy Track

Tucson Citizen Calls Upon City Council to Publicly Address the Elephant Issue!
Tucson Citizen: Our Opinion: No Shaba Baby

Arizona Daily Star: Reid Park Zoo No Longer Trying to Breed African Elephant Shaba

Tucson Citizen: Thanks to Zoo Signs, My Visit was Guilt-Free
Tucson Citizen: 03.24.2006 Letters to the Editor

Arizona Daily Star: Mass Letter-Writing Campaigns Fruitless

Tucson Weekly, The Skinny: Elephants in the Room

Tucson Citizen: Our Elephants: Stay or Go?, Class decides if refuge better than zoo

Save Tucson Elephants vs. Tucson Zoological Society!!
Arizona Daily Star: Guest Opinion by Nikia Fico, Save Tucson Elephants
Arizona Daily Star: Guest Opinion by Mike Carter, Tucson Zoological Society

Arizona Daily Star: Readers Agree With Me: Let Our Elephants Go

Tucson Weekly: Pachyderm Push

Arizona Daily Star: An Enormous Dilemma

Arizona Daily Star: 02.15.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: 02.16.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: 02.17.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: 02.18.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: To Date Recieves 28 Letters in Support of Transferring the Elephants (4 Opposed)
Arizona Daily Star: 02.20.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: 02.21.2006 Letters to the Editor
Arizona Daily Star: 02.22.2006 Letters to the Editor

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee provides free access to hundreds of acres.

27-year-old Shaba has spent nearly her entire life in the tiny Reid Park Zoo enclosure

Three elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary enjoy a beautiful afternoon playing in the upper pond

Connie was captured and taken from her family specifically for the zoo industry as a 1-year-old baby 38 years ago

The elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary: Home At Last

Shaba and Connie have spent almost their entire lives in the cramped enclosure at Reid Park Zoo

Hundreds of lush acres await Connie and Shaba at The Elephant Sanctuary

Connie's and Shaba's tiny puddle - more suitable for the ducks then for elephants

The elephants enjoy one of several swimming areas at The Elephant Sanctuary

For 25 years a real life has been just beyond Shaba's reach

At The Elephant Sanctuary there are hundreds of acres waiting to be explored
Give Shaba And Connie The Life They Deserve - Help Send Them To The Elephant Sanctuary

P.O. Box 65443
Tucson, AZ 85728
Phone: 520/ 904-0998
Email: info@savetucsonelephants.com