This show features elephant expert Will Anderson, with In Defense of Animals, who provides the background and events leading up to an important new international agreement to limit the exportation of wild elephants from Africa to the US, China and other countries.
Lori begins covering a few key events related to elephants in captivity, including the decline of Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus, which, after substantial public pressure, retired all its elephants in 2016 and then shut its doors in 2018. She then goes on to tell the 2016 episode in which 17 elephants captured in Swaziland, Africa, were delivered to 3 US zoos, to live unnatural lives in captivity. (Eighteen were captured, one died in transit). Even though there is growing awareness that elephants in zoos endure isolation, stress, and relative confinement, elephant exhibits are still common and are actively promoted by many zoos in the US.
Will Anderson then joins in to explain and celebrate the new CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) agreement to ban the export of wild elephants from Africa. Will explains how, at the last hour, the countries of the European Union were persuaded to sign on for the ban, assuring its passage. Will goes on to describe how the US, represented by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, voted “no”, because, he believes the Service represents the interests of the Association for Zoos and Aquariums, and not the wild elephants.
According to Will, the manner in which baby elephants are ripped from their mothers and herds is “brutal and violent.” Will also covers many related aspects of elephant conservation. To help elephants in the wild, Will suggests supporting organizations worldwide that protect elephants and their environments, and of course, not patronizing the zoos which hold them.