ANIMAL rights campaigners are urging Blackpool Zoo bosses to make an announcement over the future of one of its most famous attractions, Crumple the elephant.
The Gazette revealed claims last week that Crumple could be put to sleep later this month – and the autopsy broadcast live on television.
The Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS) is calling for the zoo to make veterinary reports into Crumple's condition public.
But zoo chiefs have refused to comment, saying they are "closely monitoring" the health of the animal, which is suffering from chronic osteo-arthiritis.
Crumple has been a popular attraction at the East Park Drive zoo since the 1970s when she was orphaned in the wild and brought to Blackpool.
The claims were made by the zoo's former publicity officer and local councillor Tony Williams.
Craig Redmond, campaigns director for CAPS, said: "The zoo's refusal to comment on Crumple's future speaks volumes. Is it trying to hush up plans to kill her? If she is suffering, the zoo should make public the results of veterinary reports and details of the specialists who have allegedly examined her.
"Foot and leg problems, such as Crumple's arthritis, are all too common in captive elephants. This is often caused by the inappropriate conditions provided in zoos, with the limited exercise facilities and hard floors."
Zoo bosses today said no decision had been made over Crumple's future but vets from across the globe had visited Blackpool to monitor her progress.
A spokesman said: "Crumple's welfare is of great concern and this is a very worrying time for everyone. Our priority is to make sure that she receives the very best and appropriate treatment.
"A protocol is in place for post-mortems. With the complexity of a post mortem of a large animal, such as an elephant, the body would be donated to the Royal Veterinary College in London for research."