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Top 10 Tuesday: Reasons Why Elephants Do Not Belong in Zoos

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Manila Zoo's MaliDumbo was my favorite movie as a kid, and I’ve always had a soft spot for elephants. Even though no animals belong in zoos, I’ve always been extra sad for pachyderms who are held captive. There’s so much to trumpet about, but here are 10 reasons why elephants need to be set free:

 1.      Keeping elephants captive is just wrong. No animal should suffer a life behind bars just for the sake of “entertainment.”

 2.      Zoos teach us nothing about elephants. Unless the lesson of the day involves seeing listless elephants bobbing their heads, pacing, or engaging in other repetitive behavior, we have nothing to learn from elephants who are held captive.

 3.      Zoos are killing elephants. Elephants in zoos are dying decades short of their natural life spans from debilitating diseases related to captivity.

 4.      It’s an endless cycle. Because they make so much money for zoos, elephants born in captivity have almost no chance of being released into their natural habitats.

 5.      No zoo can satisfy an elephant’s needs. In their natural homes, elephants roam up to 80 kilometers a day! It is beyond the capabilities of zoos to provide this much space.

 6.      Elephants are complex animals. Elephants meet up with old friends, seek out extended family members, and even mourn their dead.

 7.      Cold weather can kill. Because many zoos in Asia are open-air facilities, elephants can suffer health problems in the wintertime.

 8.      People are waking up! Zoos around the world have closed or are phasing out their elephant displays because they recognize that these magnificent animals’ needs cannot be met behind bars.

 9.      Zoos put profits first and conservation second. Zoos would better serve the species by helping to reduce poaching and habitat loss—the main causes of elephants’ decline in the wild.

10.  There are plenty of alternatives. You can learn about real elephants by watching nature documentaries or observing the animals in their own habitats!

We all know what the “elephant in the room” is—zoos have got to go! Help us help elephants by taking our pledge to end animal imprisonment today.

Posted by Ashley Fruno


  1. Regine Cucueco...
    December 14th, 2010, 5:05 pm

    What happens to the elephants in the zoos that ‘phase’ them out?

    While conditions are bed, wouldn’t the elephants be safer in the zoo than in the wild where they could be hunted?

  2. Alexandra Dickens...
    January 10th, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Before reading this, I actually went to Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo a few months ago and was extremely excited as i had not been since i was a child. Once I had arrived and had walked around for the first half hour I began to realise how sad and bored the animals looked in their enclosures. I had always thought that zoo’s had fantastic conservation programs that were making a world of difference but after visiting the zoo and reading this article I am now not so sure. Has anyone else had any bad zoo experiences?

  3. Raven Stewart...
    January 11th, 2011, 11:59 am

    They are always kept in such tiny cages though. They don’t get an environment containing grass, trees, etc instead they live on a concrete floor with nothing to stimulate their minds. Poor creatures. They deserve to be free!

  4. amy...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:44 pm

    this website is very good

  5. cheese...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:45 pm

    i think its wrong to keep the captive

  6. ryan hadaway...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:50 pm

    hi hi ryan cheeseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  7. anomanous...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:54 pm

    this is horrible its just disgracful

  8. ryan hadaway...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:54 pm

    this is a good website EPIC !!



  9. luke...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:55 pm

    good web

  10. JORDAN...
    March 12th, 2012, 9:58 pm


  11. Moon...
    July 16th, 2013, 5:40 pm

    I just love animals! And I just found out that Manila Zoo has a cute elephant named Mali, and she is the only elephant in the Philippines! She has lived there for almost all of her lives, for more than 30 years. The zoo should feel like her sweet and cozy home now. But then, I read some articles in PETAAsiaPacific.com, and I noticed that Mali is in fact sad and lonely! Look at her here: https://www.facebook.com/FreeMali. She is like a prisoner, who cannot spend her days with her friends, roam in vast territories, and have delicious adequate food! She even suffers from foot problems. Why does she deserve this? :( Please Help Her!

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