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Break Asha Free From A Life of Confinement

11,289 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

37.63% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Tell the Natural Bridge Zoo to release Asha to a sanctuary where she can enjoy the freedom she deserves.


In the heart of Virginia, at the Natural Bridge Zoo, lives Asha, an African elephant whose story has captured the hearts and concerns of many. For over three decades, Asha has lived in conditions that starkly contrast with the natural life intended for an elephant. Known to the zoo as "Beautiful," she faces a reality that is anything but.

A Life of Imprisonment

Asha spends her days in isolation, a condition unnatural and harmful for an elephant, a species known for its deep social bonds and complex family structures1. This solitude is punctuated only by the weight of saddles and the procession of visitors she is made to carry, day in and day out.

The conditions at the Natural Bridge Zoo have not gone unnoticed. With nearly 150 citations for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the zoo's management of Asha's welfare has been under scrutiny2. Despite legislative efforts and public outcry, loopholes and advocacy have kept Asha in a cycle of exploitation, under the guise of education and interaction3.

A Call for Compassion and Change

Asha's plight is not just about one elephant in Virginia. It's a reflection of a larger issue at hand - the ethical treatment and rights of animals in captivity. It's about recognizing the inherent value and needs of these magnificent creatures beyond the confines of entertainment and profit.

The time for change is now. We call on the management of the Natural Bridge Zoo to recognize the injustice that has been done to Asha and to take immediate action. Releasing Asha to a wildlife sanctuary where she can roam freely, socialize, and receive the care she deserves is not just an act of compassion but a necessary step toward a more humane and just approach to wildlife management.

Your Voice Matters

Your signature on the petition to release Asha can make a difference. It's a statement of solidarity with Asha and a call for change that resonates far beyond the borders of Virginia. It's a commitment to a future where the welfare of all creatures is held in the highest regard.

Sign the petition today. Stand with Asha. Be part of the movement for a kinder, more compassionate world.

More on this issue:

  1. Will Anderson & Mark Molloy, In Defense of Animals (15 July 2021), "Natural Bridge Zoo Tries to Erase Its Abuse and Shame: Asha is Now 'Beautiful'."
  2. Amy Friedenberger, Roanoke Times (10 February 2020), "Elephant-sized exception allows Natural Bridge's Asha to continue interactions with people."
  3. ABC 13 News (11 July 2017), "Report: New photos & video show animals in distress at Natural Bridge Zoo."
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The Petition:

To the Management and Ownership of Natural Bridge Zoo, Virginia:

We, the undersigned, urgently call for the immediate release of Asha, also known as "Beautiful," to a reputable wildlife sanctuary where she can spend her remaining years in an environment that respects her natural behaviors and social needs. Asha, a 38-year-old African elephant, has spent the majority of her life in isolation at the Natural Bridge Zoo, confined to small spaces and subjected to giving rides to visitors, which is far from the natural, social, and roaming lifestyle inherent to her species.

Elephants are highly intelligent, social beings that thrive in family groups, and Asha's solitary existence is not only unnatural but also cruel. The ongoing concerns surrounding her well-being, evidenced by nearly 150 citations against the zoo for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, highlight the urgent need for change. Furthermore, Asha's situation has led to the zoo's repeated inclusion on the list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants, underscoring the severity of her plight.

By releasing Asha to a sanctuary, the Natural Bridge Zoo has an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and take a stand for ethical treatment and compassion. Such a gesture would not only improve Asha's quality of life but also signal a commitment to the humane and just treatment of all animals in your care, ensuring a brighter future for wildlife and humanity alike.

We implore you to take immediate action for Asha's sake, for the sake of justice, and for the sake of our collective humanity.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: