Elephants in Captivity

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The physical, mental, and social aspects of the life of a wild elephant are so complex that scientists and researchers are still discovering unknown facts about elephants. How can we possibly ever account for all of an elephant's needs in captivity?

Elephants in captivity, whether in zoos, circuses or safari parks, experience radically different lifestyles compared to wild elephants. Elephants are extremely intelligent and social animals. In British zoos and circuses, many elephants are unnaturally kept singly or in pairs.

Elephants in captivity often develop severe mental disorders.

Wild elephants frequently bathe in mud and water. This maintains the skin and is a pleasurable experience enjoyed by whole families of elephants. Elephants also dust themselves with dry earth, which it is believed protects the elephants from the sun and insect bites. For elephants in captivity, particularly in circuses, these behaviours are not possible. Elephants are also deprived of basics such as mud wallows and dusting facilities.

Picture to the right: Electric fences often give the impression that enclosures are larger than they actually are.

elephants [ 17.49 Kb ]


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