NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. – The Natural Bridge Zoo is responding to advocates who have raised concerns about how the animals are protected from the plummeting temperatures.
The advocates are primarily focused on Asha, a 36-year-old African elephant that lives at the zoo. National elephant advocacy organization Save Nosey Now, Inc. has called for an inspection and welfare check on the elephant to make sure there are no violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
According to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, exposure to temperatures of 40 degrees or less for more than 60 minutes puts elephants at risk of hypothermia, and requires hourly monitoring.
The zoo responded in a Facebook post, saying, "Each and every one of our animals is provided with the necessary warmth to ensure they are comfortable and far from any danger."
The post went on to say that the heating systems in their animal housing units are in "perfect working order," and deputies have inspected the zoo recently.
Over the years, the US Department of Agriculture has slapped the zoo with dozens of citations for violations related to the care of their animals.