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Why Lucy Paints

In the wild, finding necessities such as food, shelter and water consumes all of an animal’s waking hours. In captivity, these necessities are readily provided so animals have more inactive time.

Zookeepers introduce enrichments to the animals in order to fill spare time with activities or items that keep the animals physically and mentally healthy. Enrichments encourage natural behaviour or sometimes introduce new behaviours. Enrichments come in all shapes and forms and are rotated regularly to provide variety. Lucy’s environment at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is enriched on a daily basis. Some of her favourite enrichment activities are playing soccer, hide-and-seek, taking long walks and painting.

Painting was introduced as a simple method of enriching Lucy’s life. Each painting begins with the zookeepers mixing the colours. Lucy uses only non-toxic acrylic paints and chooses the brush she wants to use. She paints as much as she wants with a certain colour, and once she is finished she hands the brush back to her keeper. Each piece is very different, but they all show similar lines, circles and dabs. Lucy definitely has her own style!

The majority of the proceeds from the sale of Lucy’s paintings goes towards enhancing exhibits and animal care at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. The remainder goes to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the International Elephant Foundation to support conservation work

  • Collection Partnership Collection
  • Location of Work North Terminal, Departures Level 2
  • Creation Date 2012
  • Installation Date 2012
  • Medium Canvas
  • Website

ArtistLucy the Elephant

Lucy, the Asian elephant, arrived at the Edmonton Valley Zoo on May 19, 1977. She came to Edmonton from the Pinnewala elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka. It was estimated that Lucy was two years old. Her actual birth date is unknown.Since her arrival at Edmonton Valley Zoo, Lucy created long-lasting friendships. Every day, Lucy helps Edmontonians of all ages gain a greater understanding of the Asian Elephant and leaves a lasting impression of the importance of protecting elephants and other wildlife.A team of dedicated professionals provide Lucy with food, exercise, enrichment and companionship.

Hometown: Edmonton, AB