Frequently Asked Question

Is it fair to criticize zoo elephant handlers who really care about their animals?

Most elephant handlers care deeply about the animals with whom they work, no doubt. The often heated discussions about elephants in captivity has very little to do with the issue of handlers or volunteers working with them being kind or unkind.

The overall conditions provided for zoo elephants, including space and other key welfare factors, is due to the costs involved discussed and decided at Board and top management levels. Without providing overall condititions in which the elephants can thrive, it doesn't help even having the kindest handlers on earth. What matters is that the elephants have a chance to be and act like elephants.

Far too often politics and prestige ends up being main ingredients in zoo discussions about elephants and elephant exhibits - while the elephants continue to suffer. Elephant handlers can certainly help to make positive changes for elephants by educating themselves on the real needs of elephants, and by trying to influence management decisions for the better.