Zoos Mean Shorter Lives For Elephants
According to a study of more than 4,500 elephants, researchers have found evidence that zoos can shorten the adult lifespans of both African and Asian elephants. Death rates among Asian elephant calves are also higher in zoos. An estimated 2,000 elephants worldwide live in zoos, safari parks, sanctuaries, circuses, and private residences.
By comparing data about 4,500 elephants from two protected populations is Africa and Asia to data on elephants in European zoos, scientists have found that those in zoos suffer more frequently from widespread health and reproductive problems, in addition to mental and physical ailments.
Based on these findings, researchers recommend the screening of zoo elephants for stress and obesity to identify potential health problems in the animals and as well as the most appropriate housing recommendations for each. Until these issues can be resolved, researchers recommend ending elephant importation, minimizing inter-zoo transfers, and implementing breeding restrictions on elephants to those zoos that exhibit no signs of harmful effects on their captive-born animals.