Paignton Zoo will no longer be home to elephants. Their elephant enclosure has been empty since 2019. The zoo used to have two Asian elephants. Sadly, they passed away. Afterwards, the zoo announced it will no longer add any new elephants after the last one crossed the pearly gates. The announcement also admits that zoos are not suitable for elephants.
Elephants are one of the most intelligent animals in the world. They are one of the few animals to show emotions, such as sadness, happiness, excitement, etc. They also have exceptional memory. In fact, ‘elephant memory’ is an English language term for very good memory. Moreover, elephants exhibit complex social behaviors as well. Therefore, the zoo staff concludes that they cannot accommodate elephants.
According to Devon Live, the zoo will now support elephant conservation in the wild. This appears to be in the best interest on these gentle giants. In another statement, the zoo says that it has been working to protect the Omo Forest Reserve since 1997. This reserve is in Nigeria. Additionally, it is one of the last places where elephants walk free.
Keeping elephants in circuses has ceased since January 2020. Similarly, zoos and safari park across the United Kingdom will follow suit as well. Last year alone, there were 51 elephants all over UK zoos. Meanwhile, importing new elephants has been prohibited. On the other hand, the existing elephant population will be allowed to pass away naturally.
This comes as great news to animals rights activists. For a long time, they have been have been campaigning for freeing elephants from zoos. The activists believe that it is an act of injustice to confine elephants in captivity. Therefore, they claim that the animals suffer from mental illness. Of course, this arises from the questionable conditions in zoos.
It is further claimed that the elephants have short lifespans in captivity. They live for an estimated period of 17 years under captivity. On the contrary, they can live for as long as 50 years in the wild. That alone is a massive age difference. Furthermore, they travel in large herds and walk hundreds of mile every year.