"Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants"...Topeka makes the List

By: Stephanie Ramos Email
By: Stephanie Ramos Email

The Topeka zoo has made it on on a list released Tuesday, January 12th 2010 of the top ten worst zoos for elephants.

This is not the first time the group "In Defense of Animals" has put the Topeka Zoo on the list.

This comes after last fall's expose of animal deaths and zoo director Mike Coker's resignation last December.

The Topeka Zoo is ranked sixth on the list... with the group citing the lack of space and hard surfaces as problems to the health of the zoo's two elephants, Tembo and Sunda.

They both suffer from chronic health problems, including serious foot disease and display abnormal behaviors such as aggression and repetitive swaying.

City Communications manager, David Bevens says, "Our animals we feel are in good shape..we will take care of them as best as we can and any change in policy that need to be made will be made on the council level. We've heard from them before. Not surprised to hear from them again. There has been concern about their foot health before. We do take pictures on a weekly basis and provide them to anyone that would like them or to the USDA."

Bevens also says there are no plans at this time to remove the elephants who have both been at the zoo for more than 20 years. Tembo since March 1976 and Sunda since July 1966.

Steve Feldman, spokesperson for the association of zoos and aquariums says, "The California extremist groups pulls this stunt every year. Its a group that has no credibility or the credentials. The people of Topeka should be proud of their zoo that takes great care of their elephants. There have been challenges and that may be a reason why Topeka has been targeted."

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