Resources - Greenville Zoo Fact Sheet

Overview

This zoo currently houses two elephants, Joni, a 32 year old female African elephant and long-time Greenville resident, and Ladybird, an African elephant who was separated from her two long-time companions at Lion Country Safari in Florida and shipped to Greenville in September 2006.

Joni lived alone in Greenville between 2000 and 2006. Prior to this, the Zoo tried to integrate a second female companion named Brittanie. This attempt was unsuccessful, due to behavioral problems including aggression between the two elephants, aggression towards keepers and towards the public as well.. (Records indicate that Brittanie regularly charged, rammed and attacked Joni.) Brittanie was shipped to the Milwaukee Zoo in June 2000.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has criticized Greenville Zoo in the past for problems with its elephant exhibit, including poor facility design and lack of space, especially in the barn. In fact, the AZA tabled the Zoo’s accreditation in 2003 based in part on the Zoo’s failure to meet AZA’s minimal standards for elephant care and management.

Exhibit

The zoo did not provide details of its elephant exhibit in response to IDA’s request for records. However, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has criticized Greenville Zoo in the past for problems with its elephant exhibit, including poor facility design and lack of space, especially in the barn. In fact, the AZA tabled the Zoo’s accreditation in 2003 based in part on the Zoo’s failure to meet AZA’s minimal standards for elephant care and management. In doing so, it summarized the problem:

“The major issue for this zoo that looms on the horizon involves elephants. While the present elephant is older, in good health, and easily handled by nearly all staff, no ERD is present or planned and should a medical or behavioral emergency arise, the zoo may well be unable to safely deal with it. The exhibit is small and steeply sloped, causing introduction problems that surfaced several years ago when a second elephant was acquired via the SSP that proved to be incompatible. She was relocated to another facility. The nighttime housing is small, barely meeting 1997 guidelines. Because of the location of the exhibit and the barn, enlargement of the facility is not feasible. In the future, this facility will not meet AZA standards . . . “ (Report of the Visiting Committee of the Accreditation Commission, July 2003)

Management

The Greenville Zoo uses a “mix” of free and protected contact. Senior handlers are authorized to manage the elephants using “free contact” techniques, which means they control elephants through dominance and force. Keepers carry an ankus at all times around the elephants.

Elephant Profiles

Joni

She was born in 1970. Her acquisition date is unknown.

Joni suffers from foot problems. Her medical records contain numerous references to cracked nail beds, and in 2004 a ½ inch hole appeared in her hind pad that had to be opened and drained. In 2005, veterinarians had to remove necrotic tissue from inside another nail.

Ladybird

She was also born in 1970, and acquired from Lion Country Safari in Florida in September, 2006.

IDA has not obtained medical records for Ladybird, but news reports indicate that her move from Florida separated her from her two long-time companions, Mamma and Stumpy, African elephants with whom she had lived for 34 years.

Medical Records Excerpts

Joni

Accession# 880002
Estimate birth date January 12th, 1970
Estimate age 33 years
No information on Dam/Sire provided
No information on acquisition provided

FEET

June 28 - July 9, 2004 Eight entries state “Koppertox applied to hind left center nail with crack.”
Aug. 11, 20, 2004: “Crack has reappeared on center nail on left hind leg..”
Sept. 8, 2004: Left rear foot has ½ inch hole in pad
Sept. 9, 2004: Footwork done on left hind foot. Opened up pad near inner toe, hole cleaned out.
Sept. 24 – 29, 2004: Five entries stating, “Koppertox applied to center nail on hind left foot and outer nail on hind right foot.”
Feb. 7, 2005: Black tissue removed from right hind inside nail. Crack on left hind center nail has returned. Koppertox applied to crack on left hind center nail.
Feb. 9 – May 6, 2005: “Koppertox applied to left hind center nail for cracking.
Feb. 22, 2005: Foot work on front left foot pad – black area removed.
May 9, 2005: Crack in rear right outside nail noted.

SKIN

Nov. 7, 2004: Small amount of blood around left ear and top of left foreleg, no injury noted.
Nov. 15, 2004: Aquaphor ointment applied to both ears to prevent chapping for 2 days.
Entries on Koppertox application to toe nails and Aquaphor application to ears continue through Jan. 31, 2005