Saturday, June 19, In Defense of Animals (IDA) will be sponsoring their second annual International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ) campaign to raise public awareness of the plight of elephants in captivity.
Elephant advocates from around the world will be hosting events and demonstrations to educate the public about what elephants need and why zoos just don’t cut it.
“Elephants are highly intelligent, complex and self-aware individuals who have evolved for long distance living. In the wild they range tens of miles a day, live in large, tight-knit family groups, and communicate with one another at great distances. Yet zoos keep elephants in tiny exhibits of a few acres or less, where lack of movement and standing on hard surfaces cause painful foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of euthanasia in captive-held elephants. The stress and boredom of intensive captivity results in abnormal behaviors such as repetitive swaying and head bobbing,” according to IDA.
Intensive confinement, and the potential for a life of solitude, is causing more problems for elephants than it’s worth and scientific evidence is mounting against such conduct. A study in the journal Science surveyed 4,500 elephants and found zoo conditions shorten an elephant’s life by decades.
“It’s time for zoos to set aside emotion and take a hard look at the serious problems elephants are suffering under their care. The bottom line is clear: If a zoo can’t meet the physical, social and psychological needs of these highly intelligent and complex animals, it simply shouldn’t have them,” said IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle.
IDA’s encouraging people to join the cause and stand up for elephants by participating in events, writing letters and educating people.