NEW BEDFORD - The Buttonwood Park Zoo has once again appeared on a list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants.

The list, compiled by In Defense of Animals, places the New Bedford zoo in their "Hall of Shame," making this the seventh consecutive year the zoo has appeared on the list.

Dr. Toni Frohoff of In Defense for Animals tells WBSM News Buttonwood will continue to appear on the list if elephants Emily and Ruth are not moved to an elephant sanctuary. "It's sentencing them to lives in discord and confinement in Buttonwood for the rest of their impoverished lives," said Dr. Frohoff.

Zoo Director Keith Lovett was quick to dismiss the report. "It's just riddled with propaganda. It's not factual. And it's not based on any science," said Lovett.

Dr. Frohoff says Emily and Ruth are incompatible, and it is cruel to have them living together. Lovett says nobody from In Defense for Animals has ever visited Buttonwood Park Zoo, and the two elephants have been getting along just fine.

Lovett also says he's spoken with a number of experts who say the elephants would be better served living out the rest of their days in happiness and health in New Bedford as opposed to being relocated to an unfamiliar elephant sanctuary.

Ruth is 58 years old and Emily is 53.

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