Buttonwood Park Zoo elephant exhibit. Ruth (rt), Emily (lt).
Buttonwood Park Zoo elephant exhibit. Ruth (rt), Emily (lt).

Ruth earned it.

For Asian elephant Ruth at Buttonwood Park Zoo  it's been 28 years of 7 day workweeks and no time off for good behavior. She has been kept for all these years as the "companion" elephant to an incompatible exhibit mate, Emily, on just 12,000 s.f.


Ruth and Emily, who come from different families, different countries, and likely different subspecies of elephants, do not have a mother-daughter relationship as the zoo claims. The interactions, seen in videos and in the zoo's records, show that Ruth has been and continues to be attacked and injured by Emily.

Female elephants stay in family herds, keeping their male calves with them for up to 10 years. Mothers and daughters stay together a lifetime.

Elephants are highly intelligent, having a brain that is structured much like humans. In their real home in Southeast Asia, they spend 16 hours a day walking, grazing, exploring, knocking trees down, and immersing themselves in ponds and mud. They do these things not out of hunger, but because these are their life activities.

Ruth has not been able to live a natural life for over half a century. But now she can find that life at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. She earned it.



Ruth and Emily have been deprived of all of these natural activities for their entire lives. But out of concern for Ruth's health and safety, we are campaigning for the City of New Bedford to retire Ruth now.