LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The Louisville Zoo is responding after an animal right's group listed them as the fourth-worst zoo in the country for elephants.

The group, "In Defense of Animals" said the zoo practiced "brutal breeding procedures" during efforts to impregnate an African elephant named Mikki. The animal right's group is against breeding in Zoos and pushes for elephants to be released to sanctuaries.

The group said Mikki should be moved, but the zoo said their work is important to conservation.

“Animals like elephants, when people can come and smell them and see them, and experience what they're like, there's much more empathy in terms of wanting to save those animals and that's what's important with the elephants we have here at the zoo,” Asst. Director of Conservation, Education and Collections, Steven Taylor, said.

The Louisville Zoo is home to two elephants, Mikki, an African elephant, and Punch, an Asian elephant.