Dedicated to elephant well-being & ending the ivory trade world-wide!

zoo advertisement 1937

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Visit The Zoo. 1937. Woodcut poster. Creator: Hugh Stevenson. Part of the Work Projects Administration .


“Today’s zoos are unable to meet the great physical, psychological and social needs of elephants. Zoos confine elephants to exhibits a few acres or less in size, a tiny fraction of an elephants’ natural home range. Zoos socially deprive elephants by keeping them in unnaturally small groups and routinely break up any bond formed in the zoo world when zoos shuffle elephants and other animals from one zoo to another for breeding."

How do zoos get their animals? They capture wild elephants, breed elephants in captivity and trade elephants between other zoos and circuses.

“Experts, scientists, and researchers who study elephants in the wild strongly opposed the capture of wild elephants, stating, 'Taking elephants from the wild is not only traumatic for them, it is also detrimental to their health. … [W]e believe the time has come to consider them as sentient beings and not as so much money on the hoof to be captured and sold and displayed for our own use.'” - Amboseli Elephant Research Project letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 24 June 2003.

“Zoos claim to provide educational opportunities, but most visitors spend only a few minutes at each display, seeking entertainment rather than enlightenment. Over the course of five summers, a curator at the National Zoo followed more than 700 zoo visitors and found that “it didn’t matter what was on display … people [were] treating the exhibits like wallpaper.” He determined that “officials should stop kidding themselves about the tremendous educational value of showing an animal behind a glass wall.”

- William Booth in his article titled “Naked Ape New Zoo Attraction; Surprise Results From People-Watching Study” published in The Washington Post

“Zoos claim to want to protect species from extinction, which sounds like a noble goal, but zoo officials usually favor exotic or popular animals—who draw crowds and publicity—rather than threatened or endangered local wildlife. The Chinese government, for example, 'rents' pandas to zoos worldwide for fees of more than $1 million per year, but some question whether the profits are being directed toward panda-conservation efforts at all. Most animals housed in zoos are not endangered, and those who are will likely never be released into natural habitats.” - PETA via report titled: "Critics Question China’s Worldwide Panda Profit,” in The Age 5, Apr. 2003.

70 percent of elephants in European zoos were taken from the wild.

“Zoos claim to breed animals for eventual release to the wild but breeding programmes are primarily to ensure a captive population, not for reintroduction.”

“Of 145 reintroduction programs carried out by zoos in the last century, only 16 truly succeeded in restoring populations to the wild.” 

“Nearly 300 elephants are confined in 78 U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo-industry governing body. The Seattle Times’ research shows that captivity is actually killing elephants, not helping them. According to The Times, half of the elephants who have died in U.S. zoos did so more than a quarter of a century before their expected life spans of 50 to 60 years. Further, in its desperate attempts to breed elephants to boost the dying population, the zoo industry appears to forget one key element of its mission: the welfare of elephants.”

Devastation, Not Conservation

Zoos falsely claim that exhibiting elephants is part of a conservation effort to ensure the species' survival. In fact zoos are consumers, not preservers of elephants, causing them to die decades before their natural time. Due to failed breeding problems, zoos look to the wild to restock their dwindling elephant population, therefore creating additional pressures on wild populations already threatened by habitat loss and illegal poaching.” 

Elephants are born to roam the earth in the wild.

Elephants in the zoo