Animal rights organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) recently released the results of its 2010 “Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants” survey. Apparently at these zoos—most likely all zoos—the patrons are having a blast but the elephants aren’t exactly having a picnic.
According to IDA, the following zoos should be avoided by elephants as if they were infested with mice:
San Antonio Zoo (Texas), Edmonton Valley Zoo (Canada), Buttonwood Park Zoo (Mass.), Central Florida Zoo (Fla.), Niabi Zoo (Ill.), Topeka Zoo (Kan.), Honolulu Zoo (Hawaii), Wildlife Safari (Ore.), York's Wild Kingdom Zoo (Maine) tied with Southwick's Zoo (Mass.), Pittsburgh Zoo's ICC (Penn.). San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Calif.) earns a dishonorable mention.
"The Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list is an SOS for suffering elephants and a call for mammoth change," explained IDA Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. "Caging elephants in urban zoo displays is not humane and it is not conservation."
It truly is enlightening to learn cramming the world’s largest land animal into tightly confined unnatural settings is unhealthy for the creatures, who would have thought?
"It's absurd for zoos to claim to be conserving elephants when those in zoos are suffering and dying prematurely because of inadequate conditions and harmful practices," said Doyle. "The key to elephants' survival is to protect them where they naturally live."
Keeping elephants in their natural setting, it’s an idea so crazy that it just might work.
Unfortunately, though, obvious doesn’t always count for much in society.