Elephants have been in a major public spotlight lately. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended their elephant acts before officially shutting down last year, and many countries and U.S. cities have banned the use of elephants and other wild animals in circuses. The issues surrounding elephant conservation have also been hot topics, with the Federal Court shutting down Trump’s brash decision to allow the imports of elephant and lion remains from trophy hunts, and China, the world’s leading consumer of ivory, officially banning the sale of ivory, which is finally in effect this year.

As the general public has become increasingly aware of the pressing need for elephant conservation, (wild populations of African elephants are predicted to go extinct at the end of the next decade at current rates of killing), it has become easier for zoos to dupe people into supporting them under the guise that their primary focus is conservation, when in fact the focus is ticket sales and profit.

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In an effort to reveal the truth and show that captivity is not conservation, In Defense of Animals (IDA) has put together this year’s top ten worst zoos for elephants in the U.S.

Their findings have unveiled unbelievable acts of neglect and cruelty at these zoos, with premature deaths being a norm and infant mortality rates at 40 percent, three times as high as in the wild. Also the norm are elephants kept in isolation in unnatural concrete enclosures, zoochosis and other ailments and diseases like tuberculosis, forcing elephants to do tricks, including under threat of a bullhook, forcibly attempting to impregnate elephants, while chained up, and “zoothanasia,” the killing of “surplus” animals who are no longer deemed suitable for breeding. On the list, there is even a traveling circus who masks as a zoo, and another zoo which has been under fire for acquiring elephants from the wild in Swaziland.

The simplest way to combat this disturbing degree of cruelty is by never supporting these zoos and other businesses like them. Many people still believe zoos’ claims that conservation is their focus, so please make sure to spread the truth and share this with your network!

To learn more about the worst zoos for elephants, click here.