‘Worst zoo for elephants’: Memphis Zoo responds to animal activist’s claims

Memphis Zoo elephant, Tyranza, dies after health decline
Memphis Zoo elephant, Tyranza, dies after health decline(source: Memphis Zoo)
Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 4:13 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis Zoo has responded to an elephant activist’s list that ranked them number eight on a list of zoos unfit for elephants.

In Defense of Animals, an international animal protection program, claims Memphis Zoo is one of the worst zoos for elephants.

10 Worst Zoos 2020

  • African Lion Safari, Hamilton, ON
  • Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, TX
  • Pittsburgh Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, NY
  • Monterey Zoo, Salinas, CA
  • Myrtle Beach Safari, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA
  • Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN
  • Cameron Park Zoo, Waco, TX
  • Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT

Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York was also a “dishonorable mention.”

Memphis Zoo released a statement Tuesday responding to the claims. It reads in part:

“The Memphis Zoo prides itself on having a highly respected elephant program that exceeds both expectations and requirements by the AZA. One key facet of our program is allowing the elephants to have choice and control over their environment and we allow our elephants the choice over whether or not to shift onto exhibit, what yards they’d prefer to inhabit and whether or not to participate in training sessions. Tyranza’s record-setting life is a testament to the high level of care she received while at the Memphis Zoo. Additionally, no “risky unprotected contact” is allowed with elephants at the Memphis Zoo between animals and the public.”

Related | Memphis Zoo elephant, Tyranza, dies after health decline

The statement goes on to say that AZA-accredited zoos are required to meet “demanding standards” and the Memphis Zoo’s elephant program is audited regularly by unaffiliated experts and passes with high marks.

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