Today, the elephant lovers at the IDA (In Defense of Animals) organization published their annual top ten list of North American zoos with the worst elephant care. While many zoos have chosen to either close or improve their elephant exhibits, these notorious ten continue to keep elephants in cramped, lonely, inadequate spaces without regard for their well known physical and social needs.
Making the IDA's 2010 Worst Zoos for Elephants List:
- San Antonio Zoo, Texas (#1 for the 3rd year in a row)
- Edmonton Valley Zoo in Alberta, Canada
- Buttonwood Park Zoo, Massachusetts
- Central Florida Zoo, Florida
- Niabi Zoo, Illinois
- Topeka Zoo, Kansas (3rd time on the list)
- Honolulu Zoo, Hawaii (2nd year in a row)
- Wildlife Safari, Oregon
- Tied for ninth place:
- York's Wild Kingdom Zoo, Maine
- Southwick's Zoo, Massachusetts
- Pittsburgh Zoo's ICC (the zoo's breeding center) Pennsylvania
Read the complete 2010 Worst Zoos for Elephants List for detailed explanations of why these zoos were singled out. There are also links to pictures, videos, and "take action" campaigns you can participate in.
Catherine Doyle, IDA Elephant Campaign Director, summed up the IDA's position on elephants in zoos in her blog post today,
"In a perfect world, all elephants already in captivity would be living in sanctuary-like conditions and zoos would stop breeding and phase out their elephant programs. But until we see that time (and it will happen!), elephants need to be cared for. The truth is that even if all the elephants in the U.S. were suddenly released from their cages, the nation’s two sanctuaries could not accommodate them all. So we need to push hard for changes in zoos and acknowledge those zoos that are trying harder and making changes that improve elephant welfare."
If you'd like to read more about the IDA's elephant conservation efforts, please visit HelpElephants.com