Elephants in Zoos

Elephants home

Day after day, the zoo-going public stops for a brief look, unaware of the secret suffering elephants endure. Thanks to In Defense of Animals’ efforts, the rights and treatment of elephants in zoos are the subject of growing national debate, with literally thousands of news articles and television reports dedicated to this subject over the past few years.

To date, 33 zoos have closed or plan to close their elephant exhibits, including major institutions like the Bronx Zoo and zoos in Toronto, Detroit, San Francisco, and Chicago. In addition, over a dozen zoos have placed over 20 elephants at one of two US elephant sanctuaries.

In Defense of Animals’ captive elephant campaign raises public awareness about the plight of elephants in zoos and circuses, and is a powerful force for dramatic change in the care and housing of captive elephants in the US.


In Defense of Animals’ Elephant Protection campaign is multi-pronged:


In Defense of Animals calls for an end to elephants in circuses, for the closure of zoo elephant exhibits, and for the transfer of victims to accredited sanctuaries. We look forward to the day when all captive elephants can enjoy conditions that allow them to thrive — large, spacious preserves that offer hundreds to thousands of acres of natural habitat over which elephants can roam, socialize and live the kind of life that Nature intended.