Animal advocacy group ranks Rosamond Gifford Zoo one of the worst for elephants

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has been ranked on a list of the top ten worst zoos for elephants by animal advocacy group In Defense of Animals.

The group claims the Rosamond Gifford Zoo uses elephants for breeding purposes, separating elephants who have been together for many years, and keeping elephants confined indoors during cold winter months. 

The report is also calling on the zoo to shut down their elephant exhibits or plan to phase them out.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo responded to the claims in a statement saying, “We are shocked at the level of misinformation and outright lies contained in the IDA ‘report.”

The zoo said they are one of 30 zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums to participate in the Species Survival Plan for Asian elephants. On top of that, Rosamond Gifford Zoo has surpassed all requirements to be a breeding facility.

The zoo’s release says Asian elephants are currently listed as a critically endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The goal of the Species Survival Plan is to keep a healthy and diverse population among endangered species, until the threats that are causing the species to be endangered are solved.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo also says they do not separate elephants with close relationships. The zoo currently has a three-generation family of elephants.

In response to the advocacy group’s claim that elephants are confined indoors during cold winter months, the zoo said, “Our elephant herd’s night house is a 12,000-square foot barn with heated floors and piles of sand to protect their feet. Their “exhibit” is a nearly 7-acre preserve that we expanded in size and complexity again last year. In 2015 we added a 50,000-gallon watering hole that mimics the home base of elephant family groups in the wild.”

The release from the zoo also said elephants enjoy the snow, and are only kept indoors during “the most inclement weather.”

Below is the full response the zoo released on Thursday.

Below is Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Ted Fox’s response to IDA’s claims.

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