One World Conservation

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For years we've argued that the elephant exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo needs to be completely remodeled to better meet the needs of the species.

After the death of companion, Alport, Lucky remained alone for nearly three years before a new companion, Boo, was introduced. Boo passed away three years later, leaving Lucky alone yet again.

General Information


  • Lucky is entirely alone, again
  • Exhibit is too small
  • Antiquated
  • Lack of enrichment
  • Lack of shade
  • Improper introduction facilities
  • Consistently dirty drinking source
  • Lack of grass
  • Compact, hard substrata
  • Rust
  • Limestone wall deterioration


  • For three years, the San Antonio Zoo was consecutively named the #1 Worst Zoo for Elephants in America by In Defense of Animals, and again in 2013. [ 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2013 ]
  • The San Antonio Zoo was in the Hall of Shame two years in a row in In Defense of Animals' Hall of Shame for Worst Zoos for Elephants. [ 2011 | 2012
  • In 2011, cee4life placed the San Antonio Zoo as #11 in a list of the World's Worse Zoos and was the only AZA accredited zoo to make the list.
  • In 2010, the San Antonio Zoo was listed as #5 in a list of the World's Worst Zoos and was the only American zoo to make the list.



Lucky was born in Thailand in 1960 and was wild caught at six months of age before being shipped to Illinois, where she remained for around a year. At two years old, she became a resident at the San Antonio Zoo, joining three other elephants.

  • Lucky has witnessed the deaths of at least 5 of her companions, since her arrival
  • After Alport's death in 2007, Lucky remained entirely alone for 2.5 years
  • After Boo's death in 2013, Lucky has remained entirely alone.
  • She is 54 years old


  • During Boo's residence, Lucky was consistently bullied due to improper space for socialization
  • Overweight
  • A previous vet has stated that she is suffering from arthritis*
These conditions are easily alleviated with a proper habitat and acreage. Elephants need their own room to properly socialize, something that is not allotted in the exhibit she currently resides in. Lucky had nowhere to go to get away from Boo. With grass beneath her feet and room to roam, her arthritis and overweight issues would easily be treated.

* Foot problems, caused by improper, compact substrata, are the number one cause of death in captive elephants.


Lucky has been under our watch since early 2008, shortly after Alport's death.* Since launching her campaign, we've worked many angles in attempts to gain her retirement, including:

  • A petition, which garnered over 10,000 signatures, online and off
  • Local awareness
  • Documented observations
  • Rallies
  • Attempted negotiations with the zoo
  • Work with the San Antonio City Council
  • Work with other government agencies
  • Filed numerous complaints with the USDA, OIG, WAZA, as well as congressional inquiries
  • Called for the resignation of zoo director, Stephen McCusker
  • Petition and action alert calling for the AZA to deny a variance allowing the San Antonio Zoo to keep Lucky alone
We've also been in contact with many professionals in the field, including, but not limited to:
  • Dr. Joyce Poole
  • Scott Blais
  • Dr. Mel Richardson
  • Les Schobert
  • Catherine Doyle
  • Rob Laidlaw
  • Veterinarians in the United States, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Thailand, and Australia
* Previously under the organization, Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF).


USDA Complaints

October 2010
March 2010 *
June 2009 *
August 2008 *
May 2008 *

* Filed under the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, US Operations, prior to One World's inception.


Action Alert, Lucky 2013
Press Release, Boo Death
Behavioral Observations, Dr. Poole
ZCTF Report 2009 *

* Created under the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, US Operations, prior to One World's inception.

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  • PO Box 41731 
    Austin, Texas 78704
    United States
  • (210) 322-7573