Susi, Yoyo and Bully. They are the three elephants of the Barcelona Zoo that agonize The animals have been waiting for years to be transferred to a French sanctuary where they can live in decent conditions, without being exposed to the public.
The institution upholds resocialization work that they carried out with the three female elephants, since they were all alone or were rejected by their herds: “The Zoo worked for their well-being and welcomed them, dedicating all its knowledge and a great effort on the part of its staff”, can be read in the Web page. “To do the best it could, the Zoo contacted one of the world’s top experts on human-cared for elephants, Alan Roosevelt, to advise the Barcelona team”, assures the facility in the same statement. Finally, in 2013 they were brought together and remain so to this day, although the animal associations do not share the “mission” of the zoo.
THE RESTLESSNESS OF SUSI
The focus is on Susi. Why? The elephant, about 50 years old, suffered a significant loss within the walls of the Barcelona Zoo: that of its matriarch Alicia. Alicia died in front of Susi, euthanized by some darts that the institution’s workers threw at her during visiting hours, in front of the boys and girls of the Caridad Serinyana school in Cadaqués.
Since then, Susi fell into a deep depression. For this reason, she incorporated two of her companions, Yoyo and Bully, although Alejandra García, the Director of the Equity Sanctuary, assured: “The tremendous thing is that now those who go to the zoo see three elephants in the same space but they are not socialized, they do not communicate with each other, they do not share, they do not understand each other.
FROM THE CIRCUS TO THE ZOO
Susi was born in a saved state in 1973 and shortly thereafter was kidnapped. The elephant was exhibited in a circus until it was finally transferred to the Valencia Zoo and then, in 2002, it arrived in Barcelona.
The Zoo XXI animal rights platform was born 13 years ago out of concern for Susi and “it’s still there”, he explains to Metropolis one of its members, Leonardo. “We managed to get an ordinance approved for the transformation of zoos in 2019, but it is not being applied,” he lamented.
According to Zoo XXI, in 2008, Susi’s health began to deteriorate considerably: “The spatial limitation (elephants walk about 50km a day), the constant denigration, the ground she walks on (cement causes diseases in elephants) are just some of the troubles of Susi’s life”. Still, the team insists: “No we say that Susi is sick now. What we do say is that captivity compromises her physical and psychological health.”
For example: “Certain stereotypes, such as coprophagia, can cause infestation in case of parasitosis, the trunk release It can cause damage at the level of the tube and at the cervical level. Aberrant walking or swaying can lead to energy wasting, uneven wearing of the anterior plantar zones, asymmetric development of muscle mass at the neck level, and/or exacerbation of concomitant orthopedic problems.”
Susi’s case drew so much attention that TV3 produced a documentary: “Susi, an elephant in the room.” Its broadcast, in 2021, caused more than 70,000 citizens to sign a petition through Change.org against the Barcelona City Council for the refusal of its centenary Zoo to release the elephant. The justifications are the age of the pachyderma and the stress that this could cause it.
The commotion, in addition, occurred after a fine of 28,000 euros imposed by the Generalitat on the Zoo for the death of nine birds during the Gloria storm.
LAIA BONET THROW BALLS OUT
The latest controversy surrounding Susi and her two companions came from the director of the Zoo, Sito Alarcón, and the deputy mayor Laia Bonet. The documentary team released a statement explaining how Alarcón asked the documentary team to remove the image of him, despite having signed a prior consent to be interviewed. This request caused TV3 to make the decision to withdraw the documentary while the situation was resolved. “He spoke on behalf of the City Council, of his political bosses,” explains Leonardo, from Zoo XX. So they do not understand the withdrawal of the personal image of him.
On the other hand, the making of the documentary called for the intervention of the mayor Ada Colauwhich referred the matter to Laia Bonet. the councilor kicked balls out and relegated the participation in Sito Alarcón. “We have sent a letter to the City Council to ask for explanations. We intuit that the director of the Zoo has used the public services of the company Barcelona Serveis Municipals to enforce a law in a personal capacity,” says Leonardo. “He It seems that he regrets having participated and tries to exercise a strategy that clearly tends to restrict freedom of expression.”
Although Leonardo regrets that “they have not been listened to”, the platform and other animal entities, as well as different personalities, continue to fight for the transfer of Susi, Yoyo and Bully to a sanctuary.
Contacted by this means, the Barcelona Zoo has not responded to the questions of Metropolis on the state of the elephants.