The plight of zoo elephants
Elephants may be a popular attraction at a zoo, but what most people don't know is that these magnificent animals are suffering and dying prematurely due to the inadequate conditions of their confinement. Even the biggest zoo enclosure is too small for the Earth's largest land mammals, who in natural conditions walk many miles each day in enormous habitats.
When kept in zoos the results are tragic: Lack of exercise and mental stimulation cause elephants to suffer painful foot disease, crippling arthritis, and neurotic behaviors such as repetitive swaying and rocking. A scientific study found that elephants in zoos have far shorter life expectancies than those in the wild, even though they are provided regular care and veterinary treatment.
The International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos, which falls on June 11, aims to educate the public about the plight of elephants in zoos. To learn more, please visit www.helpelephants.com.