Elephants ‘die earlier in zoos’

The other day we had a report “revealing” that dogs experience jealousy – and now there’s a report which demonstrates that captive elephants have a shorter life span than their cousins in the wild:

A new study comparing wild, captive and working elephants has found that living in zoos can significantly shorten the animals’ lives.

Putting aside the humane aspect of this for one moment, can I just point out that, once again, this isn’t new news. It’s recycled. Take this article on the BBC website from six years ago which states that:

Elephants kept in captivity at zoos and safari parks live short, stressed and unhealthy lives, says an independent report commissioned by the RSPCA.

Does that sound familiar?

I thought this was common knowledge – wild animals do better by themselves in their natural environment and while it is lovely to be able to see them up close (as I did at West Midlands Safari Park a few years ago), I would much rather we put our money, time and resources into ensuring that wild animals can breed and sustain themselves in the wild, rather than spending money on captive breeding programmes. Unless that was specifically to reintroduce animals back to the wild.

The only reason wild animal populations are declining (often to the point of extinction) is because we destroy their environments – or hunt them with no regard for sustaining the population so that we can continue to hunt them…

Rather than removing the animals from the problem, surely we should remove the problem?

There are already excellent projects across the world doing just that but I think we should be doing more. Wild animals are far more majestic and beautiful in the wild than they will ever be in zoos and safari parks.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hey Jo – long time no speak! Sorry I’ve been more of a lurker than a contributor later.

    Totally agree that it’s about getting rid of the artificial distinction between “human animals” and “other animals” and working together to co-exist. It’s easier on the conscience to create sanctuaries, but, as you rightly say, if we actually tackled climate change, for example, or hunted less, or abolished landmines or indiscriminate weapons (if we can’t ban weapons totally!) then we’d make far more of a positive impact…

    Not long started my new job working for Advocates for Animals and I have to be honest it’s really opened my eyes to the scale of brutality or outright non-consideration animals face, even in our own country and sometimes our own homes.


  2. Hey JK, glad you’ve settled in up in bonnie Scotland 🙂 The new job sounds interesting but I’m not sure about the campaign to get more people to become vegetarians!!! 😛

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