Around the world, elephants are held in zoos and ‘camps’, used in religious festivals and ceremonies, and exploited in circuses, for rides, and as props for souvenir photos, as we’ve seen in your reports.
Born Free is convinced that captivity cannot provide for the needs of elephants. Zoos and other captive facilities simply cannot replicate the highly complex social and physical environment elephants have evolved to live in. In the wild, they live in complex, multi-generational family units of females and offspring, while adult males compete for dominance and female attention.
In captivity, elephants are frequently kept in unnatural social groupings consisting of unrelated individuals and all too often kept entirely alone. They frequently suffer health issues as a result of being kept on unnatural surfaces and substrates – such as foot and joint problems, as well as skin problems, obesity, and disease. Elephants are highly intelligent animals and a lack of stimulation in captivity is particularly detrimental, leading to numerous abnormal stereotypic behaviours, such as repetitive head-bobbing, weaving, swaying, and walking over the same set path or in a circle.
Elephants are exploited in shows and circuses, forced to perform unnatural tricks such as ‘playing’ football and basketball, painting rehearsed pictures on command, and even standing on their heads. Many captive elephants are used, and abused, for paying tourists to ride or interact with.
Your reports continue to provide vital evidence about elephants in captivity.
How you can help
If you see exploitation or have concerns about a captive wild animal, please take action and voice your concerns.
As well as sending your eyewitness reports to Born Free via our Raise the Red Flag online report form, it is so important that YOU speak out further too. We have provided lots of useful guidance to help you find who to contact and how. Be it the captive facility or ‘attraction’ themselves, a government body, your tour operator, or the international media – your individual actions can have real positive results for captive wild animals. Please visit our Speak Out page for further details.
Although it simply isn’t possible for Born Free to take direct action for every animal we hear about, every single report we receive provides vital information and evidence to assist our work to secure policy change and effective legislation, supports our call for improved animal welfare and, ultimately, helps end the suffering of wild animals in captivity.
So, keep submitting your reports and please take those extra few steps to speak out further and give captive wild animals a voice.