Ex-Hab Georges Laraque offers Edmonton $100,000 to move zoo elephant
Former Montreal Canadiens enforcer Georges Laraque comments after being released by the team Thursday, January 21, 2010. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
EDMONTON - Former hockey pugilist Georges Laraque is offering up $100,000 if the City of Edmonton will move Lucy, a zoo elephant he says is suffering from cold and isolation.
Laraque has written a letter to Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel, saying he will put the money toward a new downtown hockey rink or to other projects if the city will move the 35-year-old Asian elephant to a warm-weather elephant sanctuary.
He says Lucy's health problems and signs of mental distress mandate a move, adding that elephant exhibits -- especially in cold climates -- are out of date and being phased out.
Laraque has made Edmonton his home and played for the Oilers for a decade before finishing his career with three teams, the last being the Montreal Canadiens in 2009.
The animal rights groups Zoocheck and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been trying for years to get the city to move the elephant.
A spokesman says the mayor's office has received the letter and will review it, but for now stand by its position that Lucy is fine right where she is and that a move south would kill her.