When I was first asked to paint with Lucy the elephant, I had some reservations. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding her. Canada's other cities have sent their elephants to warmer more suitable climates and many agree that the same should happen for Lucy.
After meeting with her trainers at the zoo, they made a good case about her old age (she's 40!), and her poor health being a problem with the move. It sounds like a stressful 4 days in the back of a truck and it's believed by many that she would die. They also said that as an orphan, Lucy never socialized with other elephants and it didn't go so well when they tried to connect her with others. Her trainers, some who have been with her for many years, have become her family.
To be honest, I've not completely made up my mind about Lucy. They take the best care they can of her at the zoo, and they've stated that they will never again bring an elephant to live in Edmonton which is good news. Is it worth the risk and to try to move her? I don't know.
I decided to paint with her after all since painting is an activity that she enjoys. She's free to paint however she wants and can reject colours she's not into. It keeps her brain active while she's here and the paintings are sold to raise money for the 96 Elephant Campaign, an elephant conservation effort.
It was a privilege.