Ruth and Emily, both in their fifties, have been forced to live together in the same Buttonwood Park Zoo elephant enclosure for decades. And they hate each other.
Emily attacked Ruth 36 times between 2005 and 2015, biting six inches off of Ruth’s tail during one encounter. Ruth’s trunk is paralyzed, so she is unable to defend herself when Emily rams her, tusks her, hits her, and pushes her down.
The zoo announced four years ago that it would close their elephant exhibit after Ruth and Emily die. It is a good thing that they will not put other elephants through a lifetime of torture behind bars, but why won’t they also do the right thing for Ruth and Emily?
Both elephants only have a few more years left. Those years should be spent in a place where they are free to roam and find other elephants with whom they are compatible. The zoo should not make them suffer until their last dying breath.
New Bedford, the city where the Buttonwood Park Zoo is located, owns the elephants. The City Council has the power to send Ruth and Emily to a sanctuary, but they just haven’t done it yet.