Ely The Elephant Mexico City Zoo
Ely has wounds on her back
Ely stands on concrete all day
Ely’s Story!

Ely is believed to be one of 63 orphaned African elephants who were purchased by Arthur Jones after their families were shot and killed during a mass governmental culling in Zimbabwe (1984). Thirty-seven of the 63 elephants were sold to Zoos and Circuses before 1987, Ely was among those sold. The Vasquez Circus in Texas bought Ely and that is where she spent several years of her life chained and forced into servitude.

In 2012 Ely was purchased by the San Juan de Aragon Zoo. Ely now, 32 years old, spends her days alone in a concrete enclosure with no shelter from the sun. She suffers from stereotypic behavior and psychological stress. Ely is no longer chained but still a prisoner.


Ely’s health is deteriorating as she suffers from osteoarthritis which is worsened by her concrete enclosure. She suffers from ulcerative dermatitis which is exacerbated by her constant exposure to the sun. She suffers from colic, an infected tusk, and a host of other health issues. The food provided to her lacks the vital nutrients she needs for optimum health. The zoo’s veterinary care is minimal at best, and they are doing little to address Ely’s health issues.


In 2016 OneProtest’s Founder, Adam Sugalski was speaking at an animal rights conference in Mexico City, where he was approached by a concerned citizen about the well-being of an elephant named Ely being kept at the San Juan de Aragon Zoo. He was shown photos and videos of Ely’s condition and provided with a detailed history of elephants and other animals that have suffered and died in the zoo’s care. All the animals at the San Juan de Aragon Zoo are insured, should an animal die the zoo will be reimbursed, this leaves little incentive for the zoo to care for their animals.


Adam knew he had to share Ely’s story with the world and so, OneProtest launched a campaign urging the Governor to step in on behalf of Ely; our pleas were met with silence. We contacted the zoo, but we were ignored. Our investigator continued to spend countless hours documenting the steady decline in Ely’s health and the neglect on behalf of the zoo to provide Ely with adequate care. We created a petition to free Ely and send her to a sanctuary. Our petition now has over 227,369 signatures.

We posted constant updates on Ely for our followers. Ely’s story has captured the attention of people around the world. She was even featured in an article written by OneGreenPlanet.


A sanctuary has agreed to give Ely a home, and Mexico now has a new Governor. We are working behind the scenes to free Ely, but we can’t do it without you!


Ely’s story is void of love and compassion. As a baby elephant, Ely experienced a great loss, and she has lived almost her entire life in captivity. Her life has been full of hardships and tragedy, but we hope it ends with freedom.

Please help us give Ely her happy ending!

Ely’s Area:

Barn = 5,642 sq. ft.

Open Zone 1 = 9,356 sq. ft.

Open Zone 2 = 19,263 sq. ft.

Total = 34,261 sq. ft.

Her total area is less than 1 acre (43, 560 sq. ft). Elephants in the wild can walk 10 - 30 miles a day. Clearly this enclosure is completely inadequate for an animal in captivity, and this blatant neglect must be addressed.

All Photos Copyright OneProtest 2018. If you would like permission to use the photos please contact us.