Elephants belong in their natural setting, not a zoo or circus.
To the Forest Preserve Committee of the Rock Island County Board (IL) for voting to send elephants at the Niabi Zoo to retirement.
According to a news story, Babe and Sophie will be relocated to an appropriate facility where they will live in retirement. Both Babe and Sophie were former circus elephants who wound up in a zoo. The director of the zoo stated that there is “no intention to bring elephants back….The climate is very rough on them….”
Circus and zoo elephants lead horrendous lives in climates that are often totally unsuitable to their normal environment. Additionally, life in a zoo or circus does not give elephants the space they need for roaming and foraging. Elephants typically roam 10 miles a day over ranges measuring hundreds of square miles. Also, they must reside on hard ground and cement surfaces, contributing substantially to painful foot and leg ailments. Foot disease is a common cause of death in captive elephants. They often endure conditions that induce psychological and emotional suffering and may develop stereotypies, such as swaying or patterned walking, which are considered symptoms of psychological distress. Circus and zoo elephants suffer from the inability to partake in natural behaviors, like forming family groups and are often subjected to inhumane treatment through the use of bullhooks and other negative training devices.
Take Action: The best action anyone can take to protect elephants in zoos and circuses is to never attend, visit, or view on media animals confined or forced to entertain. Additionally, if there is an elephant exhibit in your community, contact your local authorities to see if you can persuade them to do what the Rock Island County Board did and vote to send the elephants to an appropriate sanctuary.