St. Louis (KSDK) - The organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) released a list of the "Ten worst zoos for elephants," and the Saint Louis Zoo ranked sixth.
The list was based on lack of space, unsuitably cold climates, and unnatural conditions that leads to deprivation, disease, and early death.
IDA says since the last time the Saint Louis Zoo appeared on this list, many unfavorable events have taken place, including exposing the entire elephant group to tuberculosis after 40-year-old Donna tested positive for the disease. They also state two calves contracted a deadly elephant virus, another suffered a miscarriage, and they have a history of chronic foot disease and arthritis due to inadequate space.
Saint Louis Zoo spokesperson Susan Gallagher responded to the accusations and said their elephant care "is based upon the latest advances in animal science," and they have a responsibility to conserve the species.
"Our elephant care staff of highly-trained professionals offers combined experience of more than 160 years; our professionals are on-call 24/7 to provide the highest quality care for the Zoo's elephants," said Gallgher.
Gallagher also says the Saint Louis Zoo is one of the leading institutions in the United States for diagnosing and treating the herpes virus, which was referred to in the IDA's release.