You would be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t absolutely perplexed by wild elephants. These animals are so large and yet have the most elegant and graceful way about them, they seem to defy all rules of gravity, physics, and anything else that could possibly dictate the rules of their existence. There is no denying the fact that many people have a deep respect for elephants, but sadly, this has not stopped us from ripping these animals from the wild and caging them in zoos for the sake of our entertainment.
Compared to life in the wild where elephants have hundreds of miles of space to roam and the constant companionship of their herd members, life in a zoo is no sort of life at all. Most zoo elephants live in small groupings – sometimes paired with elephants of other species (which is known to increase the risk of certain diseases) – and spend their days standing on hard concrete. Elephants are extremely intelligent and emotional creatures so this sort of existence takes a serious toll on their well-being.
In the video above, we see Ruth an elephant who lives at Buttonwood Park Zoo. Ruth has been suffering from a number of illnesses in the past few years, she has arthritis, common among captive elephants, and was recently treated for a leg infection. While all of this is troubling, what is perhaps more disturbing about this video is the incessant rocking she exhibits. This is a symptom of zoochosis, a form of mental illness often noted in captive animals. It’s estimated that two-thirds of captive elephants suffer from this mental illness, believed to be caused by deep depression.
This is the sad reality of what captivity can do to wild animals … and it is all done for the sake of our entertainment. If you agree that no animal should have to suffer for our entertainment, speak up! Boycott all zoos and captive animal facilities – remember, these places run on profits from customers.
To learn more about Ruth and work to get her transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary, click here.