On paper, zoos do not seem that harmless. They are a great Sunday activity, kids have a great time and most of the time they try their best to take care of all the animals.
Even though animals in zoos look like they are living the life as they get fed without hunting and get to chill all day, the problem lies deeper, especially for elephants. Animals in captivity basically become prisoners and lose all of their freedom.
Why are zoos bad for elephants?
In their case, the loss of freedom also means no privacy, could you imagine being watched by people all day long?
Elephants are highly intellectual and emotional creatures. But above all else, they are social animals that live in herds. Since taking care of elephants is quite hard, most zoos only feature a single elephant in their exhibits or three tops.
Solo elephants get lonely and start dying inside. They basically get depressed, just like us. Even if we may dislike interacting with others, not talking to anyone would drive us into madness.
Mix matching a couple of elephants together and hoping that they bond is not enough of a solution either. Elephants are quite picky when it comes to making friends and may not like each other. When that happens in the wild, elephants just go somewhere else and leave each other alone but in captivity, there is nowhere to go! They get stuck with each other.
One may think like, “Well, eventually they may start liking each other.” while that may be true for some cases, it may not be the case for the majority of the time. If one of the elephants happens to be more aggressive than the other one, they may even kill each other…
Zoos are simply not a good idea as no matter what they do, they will never be able to replicate the true habitat of the animals. The reason elephants are currently hot is because they are endangered and some zoos think that they are doing the world a favour by captivating them. Elephants are not elephants when they are out of their habitats. They adapt to ecosystems but not to captivity.
It does not matter what they believe, holding elephants in captivity is a crime against nature, because zoos just cannot meet their physical, psychological and emotional needs, people should understand that when they see an elephant in a zoo they see a ghost.
Elephants can go wherever they please in the wild. Different ecosystems subject them to challenges and force them to use their problem solving skills in ways that zoos can not replicate. Elephants experience a 100 times more complex life in the wild and a dumbed down version of it just drives them into insanity.
Recently zoos started to terminate their elephant exhibitions while some of them came up with ideas for new exhibits that would give elephants more space. But sadly, most new exhibits do not solve the issue, some of them allow people to stand over elephants and look down on them. They are a species that basically gets to look down on everything due to their height and build, and being looked down upon all day drags them down to the ground.
Politicians and governments struggle when it comes to enforcing the existing animal rights laws on zoos and the best course of action to stop this “zoo cruelty” seems to be to stop going to zoos completely.
On ground zero, all zoos are businesses and they would not exist if they were not profitable. They will never be able to replicate the natural habitat of any animal and will keep torturing them even if they mean well…