Philly Elephants In Trouble

They're living in one of America's worst zoos (at least if you're an elephant)

Sad News for Bette and Kallie. According to a list from the international animal welfare group In Defense of Animals, Bette and Kallie, the two elephants transferred from the Philadelphia Zoo in July 2009, are living in one of the top 10 worst zoos in the country for elephants. Here’s what the report had to say about Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center:

An undercover investigation conducted earlier this fall revealed that elephants confined at the ICC in Somerset PA, were kept in a cement barn for two months straight last winter. In addition, the elephants are denied free access to water for drinking or bathing and deprived of enrichment items. Multiple scientific studies show that elephants often suffer from foot disease and arthritis, the number one cause of death in captive elephants, when confined on hard surfaces for lengthy periods of time – conditions that Kallie and Bette endured last winter. The cement barn that Kallie and Bette share with Jackson, a 34-year-old bull elephant, consists of stalls with cement flooring, where the animals are confined most nights and months on end in winter, and a sand pit where the three elephants are rotated.

Additionally, it appears that ICC officials misled the Philadelphia Zoo and others by repeatedly claiming elephants at the facility would be allowed access to areas outside of their pens. In fact, the undercover investigation found that the elephants have been continually confined in pens of one to three acres since their arrival in July 2009, and there are no plans to allow them access to any of the rest of the 724-acre property. []