An international conference of elephant experts has condemned the capture and confinement of elephants and has called on zoos to release and reintegrate them into the wild or relocate them to sanctuaries where they can live a more normal life.
Holding elephants in captivity causes them enormous stress and constitutes cruelty. Capturing wild elephants and removing them from their families is unacceptable. Captivity is simply unsuitable for elephants.
This was the overall agreement at a conference in Hermanus on 6 September 2019 attended by elephant specialists from Kenya, Zimbabwe, the United States, Great Britain and South Africa. They were seeking to work out a framework and policy guidelines for dealing with elephants in captivity.
The conference, Taking the Elephant out of the Room, was organised by the EMS Foundation and followed the historic ruling by the United Nations wildlife trade organisation, CITES, prohibiting wild-caught elephants from being held in captive facilities.
The conference was opened by Chief Steven Fritz of the Khoi Council.
"Elephants are sacred to the Khoisan First Nation people," Fritz told delegates. "What you do to them you do to us. If you enslave elephants you enslave the Khoisan nation. Like us, they are First Nations. They're...