A new report of the “10 Worst Zoos for Elephants” reveals shocking and horrifying details of widespread abuse in North American zoos endured by thousands of the majestic animals.
This year’s list, published by the animal welfare nonprofit In Defense of Animals, emphasizes transfer abuse, which happens when people repeatedly move elephants between facilities — creating trauma for all elephants involved by separating families and breaking the bonds the social, intelligent animals create.
The report also identifies zoos where elephants languish in isolation — often in cramped, dirty enclosures with unnaturally cold and barren conditions.
These abuses can cause “zoochosis,” a condition of chronic stress that likely results from living in an artificial, substandard environment. Elephants at zoos also suffer from potentially deadly diseases and health problems, such as tuberculosis.
Wild animals do not exist for our entertainment, and elephants don’t belong in substandard habitats that hinder them from fulfilling their social, physical, and psychological needs. By avoiding for-profit zoos and supporting sanctuaries instead, you can enjoy wildlife without contributing to captive suffering.