An unnamed elephant calf at the Pittsburgh Zoo has died without the comfort of being with her mother or other elephants.

The calf was born prematurely on May 31 at the Pittsburgh Zoo’s breeding facility. Zoo officials claimed that the calf’s mother couldn’t care for her, so they separated the pair and transported the calf to the Pittsburgh Zoo. She was put on display soon after her arrival in order to attract more visitors—zoo employees even paraded her around in a sports flag—all before anyone even bothered to give her a name.

During her time trapped at the zoo, the calf lost weight and eventually stopped eating. After three months of suffering, she was euthanized.

The Pittsburgh Zoo has a history of failing the elephants and other animals it holds captive. It’s been cited for using dogs to herd elephants (WTF!?). And two years ago, the zoo dropped its Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation because it refused to handle elephants with a protected-contact elephant-management system, in which humans and elephants are always safely separated by a barrier, as required by the association. Instead, the zoo continues to use sharp weapons called bullhooks, which are designed to “handle” elephants by means of pain, fear, and intimidation.

peta2 bullhook

In January 2017, the zoo was cited for critical noncompliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act when a bat enclosure flooded, causing 36 bats to die of hypothermia.

And earlier this year, the Pittsburgh Zoo worked with SeaWorld to separate polar bear best friends Szenja and Snowflake and ship Snowflake to the Pittsburgh Zoo in order to breed her for commercial purposes. The zoo didn’t care that the two bears had been together for 20 years, and its officials ignored appeals by PETA and concerned people across the country urging them not to separate the animals.

Breeding new polar bear cubs to attract visitors and make money was more important to the zoo than the animals’ well-being. Less than two months after the bears were separated, Szenja died alone at SeaWorld, likely from a broken heart.

What You Can Do

PETA is calling on the Pittsburgh Zoo to end its elephant program altogether. Please, stay away from any place that uses wild animals for profit, and tell your friends to stay away, too. Every dollar spent at places such as the Pittsburgh Zoo contributes to the animals’ suffering.

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