The International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos, held on June 8 every year, is a worldwide event aimed at raising awareness about the condition of elephants in zoos and, ideally, sending elephants in zoos to authorized sanctuaries. During its first year, dedicated activists in 33 cities across seven countries held outreach events and demonstrations, attracting attention from the media and educating the public about the tragic consequences of keeping elephants in tiny, unnatural zoo enclosures where they’ve been suffering and dying prematurely.
History of International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos
Elliot M. Katz, a veterinarian, served as President of the In Defense Of Animals (I.D.A.) organization from its inception in 1983 until he died in 2021. Katz attended Cornell University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated with honors in 1989. He became involved in animal rights issues after activists approached him for assistance in putting an end to animal experimentation at the University of California, Berkeley’s allegedly overpopulated and unsanitary laboratories. As a result, Katz assisted in the formation of Californians for Responsible Research, which advocated for the campus to provide better care for the animals used in research.
I.D.A. believes that elephants die prematurely in zoos and that “urban zoos simply do not have adequate space for these majestic, intelligent animals.” The animal rights organization PETA has backed I.D.A.’s fight against elephants in zoos. I.D.A. releases a list of the ‘ten worst zoos for elephants’ regularly. It claimed in 2004 that it persuaded the San Francisco Zoo to relocate its elephants to a sanctuary. The zoo, on the other hand, maintained that I.D.A. had nothing to do with the elephants’ relocation.
As part of a larger campaign, I.D.A. has accused the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and other zoos of violating the Animal Welfare Act. According to I.D.A., the United States Department of Agriculture has acknowledged “the severity of concern surrounding the poor environments for elephants in our nation’s zoos.” In response to I.D.A., Woodland Park Zoo argued that “the limiting space argument is oversimplified and… that elephants in zoos receive the greatest care available.”
International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos timeline
In Defense of Animals is established in San Rafael, California, U.S.
I.D.A. creates a chimpanzee sanctuary and training center in Cameroon
I.D.A. claims that it exerted pressure on the San Francisco Zoo to relocate its elephants to a sanctuary.
I.D.A. initiates International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos — a worldwide event aimed at raising awareness about the condition of elephants in zoos.
International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos FAQs
Why are zoos getting rid of elephants?
Zoos have mostly abandoned the elephant market as animal welfare concerns have called into question the ethics and conventional processes for caring for the world’s largest and most intelligent creatures.
Is it cruel to keep elephants in zoos?
In confinement, elephants have been deprived of everything that gives their lives significance. As a result of the inhumane conditions in which they are kept, many become emotionally unstable, unhealthy, and aggressive.
Are elephants sad in zoos?
Skin infections, repetitive and aimless activity, poor libido, and obesity are all indicators of stress in zoo elephants.
International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos Activities
Attend a demo
Attend a demonstration organized by I.D.A. Raising awareness about elephants living in captivity is key.
Sign a petition or start your own
Sign an existing petition to ask your local authority to participate by introducing legislation to end elephant imprisonment. You can start your petition if none exist.
Share on social media
You can share stories and pictures of elephants in zoos on your social media accounts. Use the hashtags #ActionForElephants and #InternationalDayofActionforElephantsinZoos.
5 Interesting Facts About Elephants
Earth’s biggest terrestrial mammals
The African elephant is indeed the world's largest land mammal — with males growing up to 9.8 feet tall and weighing up to six tonnes on average.
Their ears distinguish the two species
African elephant ears are much larger than Asian elephant ears and are characterized as being shaped much like the African continent, whereas Asian elephant ears are shaped much like the Indian subcontinent.
Their tusks are, in fact, teeth
Elephant tusks are enlarged incisor teeth that appear in elephants around the age of two and continue to develop throughout their lives.
They have thick skin
The skin of an elephant can be as thick as an inch.
They communicate via vibrations
Elephants communicate through various means, including trumpet calls, body language, touch, and scent.
Why We Love International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos
Elephants live in families
Elephants value family. These colossal beasts live in herds. A herd is made up of a matriarch elephant, her daughters, and the children of her daughters.
Elephants embrace one another
Elephants embrace one another by wrapping their trunks around one another and placing their trunks in the mouths of one another. We think that’s beautiful.
Elephants are important to the environment
They aid in seed dispersal through their dung as they move all over the savannah and rainforest in search of food. Elephant dung functions like fertilizer and aids in the growth of the seeds. This contributes to the growth of new food and habitats for animals.
International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos dates