Facts About Zoos

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  • Zoos cannot provide the amount of space animals have in the wild.

  • A government-funded study of elephants in UK zoos found that 54% of the elephants showed stereotypies (behavioural problems) during the daytime. One elephant observed during day and night stereotyped for 61% of a 24-hour period.
  • African elephants in the wild live more than three times as long as those kept in zoos. Even Asian elephants working in timber camps live longer than those born in zoos.
  • 40% of lion cubs die before one month of age. In the wild, only 30% of cubs are thought to die before they are six months old and at least a third of those deaths are due to factors which are absent in zoos, like predation.
  • Many zoos train animals to perform tricks as if they were in a circus. Performing sea lions, birds and elephants can be seen at many UK zoos.
  • Some training of elephants has been done using electric goads. CAPS infiltrated a training session held at Blackpool Zoo in 1998 and filmed elephants being trained to lift their feet and head, hold sticks in their mouths and jabbed with elephant hooks in the shoulder and head.
  • 70% of elephants in European zoos were taken from the wild.
  • Zoos claim to breed animals for eventual release to the wild but breeding programmes are primarily to ensure a captive population, not for reintroduction.

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