Bull hook Bull hook

Bull hook - photo from IDA

After centuries of elephant keepers in zoos beating elephants into submission and compliance, AZA requires zoos holding elephants to adopt Protected Contact management.

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants is pleased that the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has directed all zoos in their system to transition to an elephant management method called “protected contact”.  Protected contact requires that there is always a barrier between the keeper and the elephant.

Under the former method of management called “free contact”, the keeper shares the same space as the elephant.  This requires the use of the sharp pointed bullhook to protect the keeper.  Elephants under this form of management have been routinely beaten so the mere sight of the bullhook instills fear and submission.  About half of the zoos in the AZA system still uses this antiquated and cruel method but that will change by Sept. 1, 2014.

Protected contact improves the quality of life for elephants who live under the fear of the bullhook while improving the safety for those who work with elephants.

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