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zoo director experts on zoo captivity



As evidence mounts revealing the dire state of elephants in captivity, zoo directors nationwide are realizing they cannot provide the necessary environment or proper care for elephants. With the closure of countless elephant exhibits at zoos across the United States, the tide is beginning to change for elephants nationwide.

"The selfish part of me wants them to stay, but I know they'll be so much better off (at the sanctuary) in Tennessee. It will increase their longevity and health... Elephants can live 70 years or more in the wild, but 40 or 45 is old for a captive elephant. Moving them now gives them a chance to live long, healthier lives." 

- Barbara Anderson, Chehaw Wild Animal Park Zoo Elephant Keeper


“Although the zoo’s one-acre enclosure far exceeds the zoo industry’s professional standards, it is nonetheless inadequate for elephants, whose social, intellectual, and physical needs exceed those of other large animals.”

- Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoo Director


"People's traditional expectation of zoos is that they see lions and tigers and elephants. But it's also their expectation that an animal has a good life.” 

- Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoo Director


“I felt that, given the circumstance, we transfer Tinkerbelle and Lulu to a sanctuary, where they can each live with others of their kind. I respect the AZA and the importance of working through the SSP (AZA’s Species Survival Plan) process, but felt that, for these animals, a sanctuary provided a good alternative.” 

- Manuel Mollindedo, San Francisco Zoo Director


“We knew we could trust The Elephant Sanctuary to offer Shirley the kind of life she deserves. It was in Shirley's best interest to retire her to a place that was more suitable.” 

- Jake Yelverton, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo Director


"In one sense it'll be hard to leave family and friends, but it would be harder if it wasn't the right thing for the girls. I wish all elephants could go live at the sanctuary." 

 -Kathi Murray, Chehaw Wild Animal Park Elephant Keeper



  • Protest a zoo near you. Reach out to LCA if you need posters and/or brochures - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Write your elected officials and educate them about zoos. Inform them of how few zoo animals are endangered and demand that animals cease being placed in zoos. Demand stricter Animal Welfare Act regulations and increased USDA inspections. For your elected officials’ contact information, visit 

  • Travel wisely and avoid business that exploit wild animals - this includes all elephant rides.




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