Glamour Beasts: The dark side of elephant captivity

Number 25596
Subject Animals
Source The Seattle Times
State Washington
Year 2012
Publication Date 12/02/2012; 12/03/2012
Summary The zoo industry claims that elephants are thriving inside U.S. zoos. But that’s not true. It never has been. The Times found that elephants are dying out inside zoos. For every elephant born, on average two others die. Just 288 elephants are left inside 78 accredited U.S. zoos. Captive elephants may be demographically extinct within 50 years – there won’t be enough females left to breed. The Times conducted a first-of-its-kind analysis of 390 elephant fatalities for the past 50 years. In a desperate race to make more baby elephants, Seattle’s Woodland Park has tried to artificially inseminate their Asian elephant, Chai, at least 112 times, sometimes adopting crude and reckless procedures. As nearly two dozen zoos have shutdown or plan to close elephant exhibits, nonprofit sanctuaries with thousands of acres represent one option for retired or unwanted elephants. But a zoo industry trade group is fighting a bitter battle to thwart sanctuaries and punish zoos that give up their elephants.
Category Contest Entry
Keywords zoo; elephants; zoo industry
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