ELEPHANT-FREE UK

There are currently 52 elephants in 12 zoos across the UK. 

Elephants frequently experience considerable physical suffering and psychological distress as a result of being kept in captivity. Yet, the current protection we afford to these intelligent and sensitive animals is wholly insufficient. 

A new survey, carried out on behalf of Born Free, has indicated that more than half (56%) of the UK public polled think elephants should not be kept in zoos.

Born Free is concerned that the needs of elephants cannot be met in a zoo environment and is calling for a phase out. We want an elephant-free UK.

CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS FACE MANY PROBLEMS

When Born Free was founded in 1984, there were 20 zoos in the UK keeping around 50 elephants, of which 44 had been taken from the wild. Today, there are 52 elephants in 12 zoos across the UK.

Born Free is convinced that captivity cannot provide for the needs of elephants. Zoos and other captive facilities cannot replicate the highly complex social and physical environment elephants have evolved to live in. This means that what elephants want and need, compared to what they can be provided with in captivity, are very different.

 

UNNATURAL GROUPINGS

Elephants in zoos are frequently kept in unnatural social groupings consisting of small numbers of unrelated elephants. In some cases, elephants are kept alone.

FIND OUT MORE

 

HEALTH PROBLEMS & DISEASE

Elephants in zoos experience numerous health issues, such as obesity and problems with their feet, joints and skin.

FIND OUT MORE

 

FREE CONTACT & THE USE OF THE BULLHOOK

Some UK zoos still manage their elephants under a free contact system that permit keepers and animals to share the same space. Some zoos still use the bullhook, a hook-ended tool used to tap, pull or even hit elephants to control their movements.

FIND OUT MORE

 

POOR BREEDING SUCCESS

Zoos appear to be net consumers rather than producers of elephants. Many captive female elephants have low fertility rates and are unable to conceive. There is a high infant mortality rate. No elephants have been returned to the wild. 

FIND OUT MORE

 

STEREOTYPIC BEHAVIOUR

Elephants in UK zoos often display abnormal, repetitive stereotypic behaviours, such as swaying or head-bobbing.

FIND OUT MORE

YOU CAN HELP!

Born Free is calling for the keeping of elephants in UK zoos to be phased out over time. To make this a reality, we are calling on the government to ban the import of elephants into the UK and to introduce a moratorium on breeding elephants, with the objective of phasing out the keeping of elephants in UK zoos.

Please help by sending a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove MP. 

TAKE ACTION

UPDATE DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX

Sign up to get the latest Born Free news about our work and how you can help, delivered straight to your inbox.