It seems like
zoo owners just don't get it.
The BBC is reporting
Ark Zoo Farm near Bristol is planning to build a new enclosure to house
elephants on its grounds, a move that has been widely criticized by
many animal advocacy groups.
On top of the
fact that there has been a steady trend toward closing
elephant exhibits over the past two decades, this announcement comes
on the heels of an elephant
attacking a trainer at a zoo in Ohio and another elephant dying
mysteriously at a zoo in Massachusetts.
A spokesman for
the zoo assures the public of the familiar promises we're used to hearing
from the animal-entertainment industry: that the animals will be well cared
for, will benefit from large modern enclosures, etc.
Not only are these
promises always hollow mockeries when they come from people who profit from
animal captivity and entertainment, but according to the article, this zoo
has already been expelled from the British and Irish Association of Zoos
and Aquariums as a result of a questionable relationship with a circus.
As if a zoo isn't bad enough, this is a zoo with ties to a circus. It's
almost like the twin enemies of elephants everywhere have joined forces.
The list of groups
that have spoken out against the proposed new elephant exhibit include RSPCA,
the Born Free Foundation, the Captive Animal Protection Society, and the
criticism of these groups is unlikely to make a difference to the Noah's
Ark Zoo. These people are only ever interested in what is going to make
them money. And, unfortunately, a new elephant exhibit will do just that.
But the next time
you're thinking of visiting a zoo, consider whether it makes any sense to
have an animal accustomed to the climes of Asia and Africa, in zoos in Europe
and North America. Ask yourself if an animal the size of an elephant, with
the social structure of an elephant, can ever be healthy and happy in a
small enclosure with few, if any at all, companions. Ask yourself if an
animal as intelligent and sensitive as an elephant, doesn't understand that
she is in captivity. And when you realize that elephants have no place in
zoos, then ask yourself if any animal belongs in a zoo.
I think you'll
find the answer is pretty obvious.