Rari, a 40-year-old female elephant held captive at Adventure World in Japan, hurled a zoo trainer to his death in her enclosure at the park. He died a few hours after the incident.
Rari has been imprisoned at the park since it opened in 1978—that is, nearly all her life. The stress of being constantly confined to her tiny enclosure, which is 19 meters long, 6 meters wide, and 3 meters high—just a fraction of the size of her natural habitat—has driven her insane.
Zoos rob elephants of the opportunity to satisfy their most basic needs, including forming extended social relationships and walking long distances. Lack of exercise and long hours standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to foot problems and arthritis. Many captive elephants develop neurotic and abnormal behavior, such as incessantly pacing, rocking, or swaying, in an effort to cope.
Mali, a female elephant at the Manila Zoo in the Philippines, has spent 40 years pacing the same concrete area over and over again, and most of that time in solitary confinement. In the wild, elephants such as Mali and Rari would spend their days in the company of their herd—which they’d never leave—foraging, bathing and playing in rivers, and roaming vast territories. Placing these intelligent and complex individuals in conditions that are harmful to them, just so that humans can gawk at them, teaches visitors nothing.
Please help Mali get the life that she deserves. Urge the Philippine government to allow her to be transferred to a sanctuary where she can be free and live happily.
What You Can Do
Never patronize zoos. As long as humans continue to buy tickets, animals will continue to suffer. Zoos will be forced to stop breeding and capturing more animals from the wild if their financial support disappears. Talk to family, friends, and coworkers—especially those with small children—who may be inclined to go and explain to them that every ticket purchased directly contributes to animals’ misery. Instead, support organizations such as Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand—where former captive elephants are rehabilitated and cared for.