Lady is in her 40s, and spent most of her life in circus. In 2013 she was confiscated from the circus, due to mistreatment, and relocated to a small zoo in João Pessoa. The zoo did not have a developed elephant enclosure, so Lady was put in a “temporary” yard, surrounded by hotwire, while her permanent enclosure was being built.
In January, almost a year later, it was discovered that Lady was still being held in this tiny temporary yard, which brought activist, media, and political attention to the situation. One of our board members went up to visit with lady, her veterinarians and the Secretary of Environment to see what could be done to help Lady. Lady is frustrated and acts out in an attempt to vent this. She is on a chain and kept in a yard that is so small she can only take a few steps. Her health is compromised due to lack of foot care, and her foot issues have developed to a point that she will need lifelong in depth care of her feet; not only are they painful, but she is now suffering from osteomyelitis.
There is much that lady needs, and there is an awareness that the zoo cannot provide for her because of lack of space and experience. The Secretary of Environment has agreed that Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is that solution and when we are ready to accept elephants, they will visit, and send Lady to us to live out the rest of her life.
Update: In July of 2014 Lady was moved into a new space at the zoo. With this move, those involved in her possible relocation to sanctuary went back on their initial statement and stated that she was to remain at the zoo now. Her feet continue to be a significant issue and may, as is the case for many captive elephants, be the cause of her death if her situation does not change and she is not relocated to an appropriate facility- one that can offer her space and much needed foot and medical care.