A major wildlife charity calls on the government to ban the Chester Zoo from harboring elephants. Born Free has released a new report titled “Elephants In Zoos; A Legacy of Shame” which states that elephants born in captivity in the UK have an average lifespan of only 20 years compared to a lifespan of 50 years in the wild.
The report goes on to say that 40% of baby elephants in zoos die before age five. He accuses zoos of being net consumers of elephants due to high infant mortality rates, poor reproductive success and reduced longevity.
The report highlights how elephants in some zoos are sometimes confined to enclosures that are just a bit larger than a football field, with an average “herd” size of just three, and are sometimes housed alone. .
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As a result, they can suffer from dramatically shortened life expectancies, a multitude of health problems, and cannot participate in the social and behavioral norms of their species.
Will Travers Born Free executive chairman said, “We’ve been tinkering around the edges long enough … elephants don’t belong in zoos.”
Chris Packham CBE, naturalist and broadcaster, agrees with the report. He said: “The attempted breeding in captivity and capturing wild elephants to be imprisoned in zoos is completely wrong and here is all the evidence to prove it. A tragic catalog of inhumanity operated on a creature we claim to love. It has to end today. “
The report comes as the government is currently revising its Standards of Modern Zoo Practice. Chester Zoo responded by stating that it is one of the leading zoos helping to save animals from extinction. They have a herd of six Asian elephants, known as the Hi Way family, which are on the endangered species list.
A spokesperson for the Chester Zoo said: “We warmly welcome the idea of an updated set of standards for modern zoo practice and, as the UK’s leading conservation zoo, we are actively involved in helping Defra ( Department of Food and Rural Affairs) to modellali.
“Scientific research shows that the quality and complexity of space are integral to animal welfare and a much larger factor than just the amount of space available. We are already at the forefront of this. Furthermore, the importance of social structures is fundamental. Chester Zoo is home to a multigenerational herd of elephants that mirrors the social system seen in wild herds.
“The proposed standards are only in draft form at the moment and any confirmed policy must be based on solid evidence and draw on real experience. As a center of excellence for elephant care and conservation, we are 100% committed to continuing our vital efforts to prevent elephant extinction, through the work we do here in Chester and abroad.
“As part of our ongoing plans to develop the zoo, we are already looking into the habitat of the Asian elephants and, of course, we will try to overcome any additional requirements, as we always have.”
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