San Antonio Zoo weighs what to do about Lucky the elephant

Decision pending after last companion's death


At 53, Lucky is the last elephant at the San Antonio Zoo.

Last week's death of Boo, her companion, has left San Antonio Zoo officials weighing what to do about her.

For years, animal advocates have wanted the endangered Asian elephant taken to an animal sanctuary because they are normally highly social creatures.

However, Lucky's keepers said she's always been a loner, having never really bonded with her five former mates, instead preferring the human hands that feed and care for her.

Dr. Rob Coke, the zoo's senior veterinarian, said despite her advanced age, Lucky is relatively healthy but may be at risk if she's moved elsewhere after living in one place more than 50 years.

"We are concerned about her and her stress levels and her social stress that may be involved, so we're weighing all the different options," Coke said.

Unlike animal groups that describe zoos as "archaic," Coke said he thinks elephant exhibits should endure.

"We expand what we know about them and how to take care of those in captivity," Coke said. "New exhibits and new research help expand what we know about elephants in the wild."