Alyne Fortgang of Seattle, wrote a great response to an article in Seattle Weekly by Damon Agnos, called “New Zoo Review”:
Keeping the planet’s largest land mammal in Woodland Park Zoo’s tiny barn room up to 17 hours a day and in a section of a one-acre yard is blatantly inhumane. Whether looking for food or energized by food, elephants are born with bodies that need to walk great distances for their mental and physical health. Experts have presented decades of research that bears this out.
Since 2000, half of the 63 elephants that have died in AZA-accredited zoos never reached the age of 40. The natural lifespan of elephants is 60–70 years. It is the zoo environment that is killing them prematurely, just as poachers and loss of habitat are doing in the wild—it is the same crime with the same result.
The zoo claims displaying elephants makes people care about them, and then they will donate to conserve them. If this were true, Asian elephants wouldn’t be as endangered today, since people have been seeing them in zoos for more than 200 years. As zoos have adopted their “conservation” ethic to justify incarcerating elephants, numbers have continued to decline.
Conservation of elephants needs to take place in the wild—the ONLY place they should be—not in a “cage” with Olmsted landscaping, to which they have no access.