Bronx Zoo, Disney World's Animal Kingdom among the worst places to be an elephant

Animal rights organization In Defense of Animals released its annual list

Published January 14, 2015 9:00PM (EST)

               (<a href=''>absolutely_frenchy</a> via <a href=''>iStock</a>)
(absolutely_frenchy via iStock)

Animal rights organization In Defense of Animals (IDA) recently released this year's list of the ten worst zoos for elephants, and found that Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Bronx Zoo and Disney World's Animal Kingdom are some of the worst offenders, coming in at third, fifth and 10th place respectively. The report reveals that at these ten locations, elephants have been subjected to confinement, hypothermia and trauma.

"IDA's 2014 list spotlights zoos representing the most appalling conditions for elephants, emphasizing an extended and egregious history of disregard for elephant care standards and science," said Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant & Cetacean Scientist for IDA in a statement. "Conservation cannot be used as an excuse for cruelty, especially when we know that elephants bred in captivity will not be released to the wild. The tens of millions of dollars pent keeping elephants in zoos could be used more wisely and compassionately for real conservation."

The Huffington Post's Dominique Mosbergen:

According to an earlier report by Animal Defenders International, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is guilty of beating its elephants with bullhooks and shocking them with stun guns during training; the Bronx Zoo has been accused of housing its elephants in "absurdly small enclosures" and keeping one of its animals -- an elephant named Happy who's made headlines for being able to recognize herself in a mirror -- in "solitary confinement."...

IDA also alleges that poor decisions made by Disney World's Animal Kingdom led to the untimely death of two elephants. "In July, pregnant Moyo and her unborn calf died as a result of birth complications after being shipped from Disney's Animal Kingdom to The National Elephant Center in Florida," the group wrote. "Zoos generally do not transfer pregnant females because of the great stress of travel and potential complications."

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec hosted a campaign called #TweetForElephants highlighted the species' threatened future.

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"At a time of greater awareness of the plight of elephants in the wild, who are dying for the illegal ivory trade, it is shocking that captive elephants continue to suffer and die prematurely at the very zoos that are claiming to help save these species," said Frohoff. "The public has a right to know what is really happening to elephants in zoos and the fallacy behind zoos' 'conservation' claims."

By Joanna Rothkopf

MORE FROM Joanna Rothkopf

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Bronx Zoo Elephants Poaching Six Flags Wild Zoos