Pregolja is a female Asian elephant who lives at the Kaliningrad Zoo in Russia. She was born in this zoo in 1970 and has lived there ever since. She has spent over 37 years, her entire life, inside the same small and barren enclosure surrounded by rusty steel and grey cement. It is an environment that nobody should be forced to live in. Pregolja is also all alone. Her mother (Shandra) died at the young age of 29 years in 1982, and her father (Jimmi) died in 2000. Pregolja has been without companionship of other elephants for a number of years.
We hope that Pregolja experienced some joy as a baby with her mother, but her history indicates that she developed psycological health problems early in her life. When Pregolja was only 10 years old the zoo decided to use her as a baby-machine and she was bred with Jimmi; her very own father! For the next thirteen years, Pregolja gave birth to 4 calves, but tragically killed the first 3 right after birth. Her surviving calf, Marta, is believed to be with circus Durov in Moscow.
Elephants killing their newborns is not a new phenomenon in captive elephants. In fact, it happens quite a lot in zoos around the world. However, such behavior has never been documented in wild elephants. Clearly, there is something about living in a zoo that leads to these abnormal and aggressive rejections of calves.
It is heartbreaking how Kaliningrad Zoo is ignoring Pregolja's basic needs and not even recognizing the magnitude of her psycological problems that are taking a toll on her. This insensitivity displayed by the zoo is inexcusable, and will not be tolerated any longer. Please join us demanding sanctuary for Pregolja. She is in a desperate need of a better life.
Elephants are one of the most social and intelligent animals on the planet. They thrive on the companionship of each other and make life-long bonds. In the wild, female elephants live in family groups or herds and stay together throughout life.
Elephants communicate with each other on many different levels, like vocalization, touching, body language and complex infrasonic communication to name a few. Elephants are also known for showing signs of joy, grief, empathy, and even revenge. They are able to use tools, they are self-aware, and have exceptional good memory. For example, a recent wildlife study indicates that an elephant are well aware of 200-300 identities of other elephants he or she interacts with.
The most common causes of euthanazia in zoo elephants are foot infections and arthritis. Zoo elephants often develop these serious ailments as a result of lack of exercise, and standing on hard, improper and often insanitary surfaces.
An elephant needs healthy feet to carry the heavy body weight. Normal exercise ensures toned muscles, and healthy joints, ligaments and tendons. Wild elephants walk up to tens of miles a day. Foot problems have never been documented in the wild population.
Pregolja spends all her time alone standing on hard concrete. Even most of the ground in her outdoor yard at Kaliningrad Zoo is covered with concrete.
The inability to move freely over great distances combined with the hard substrate she is constantly standing on, are factors that most certainly are having devastating effects on Pregolja's feet and overall health.
According to reputable elephant experts, elephants have three basic needs:
None of these basic needs are being met at the Kaliningrad Zoo.