10 Worst Zoos for Elephants Named And Shamed

10 Worst Zoos for Elephants Named And Shamed



Contact: Toni Frohoff, Ph.D.,, (805) 836-0496

10 Worst Zoos for Elephants Named And Shamed


San Rafael, CA (Jan 12, 2016) – International animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals, today released its annual list of the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America, with the #1 spot shaming three colluding U.S. zoos involved in an international scandal.

Now in its twelfth year, In Defense of Animals’ respected list exposes the cruelty behind keeping the Earth’s largest land mammal captive in small, inadequate zoo exhibits that cause a lifetime of misery and lead to premature death.

In 2015, four more zoos closed their cruel elephant exhibits, three of which appeared on the 10 Worst Zoos for Elephants list in previous years. Despite this encouraging trend, three U.S. zoos are attempting a highly controversial plan to import young elephants from the African wild to be incarcerated for life in sad zoo displays, resulting in the first-ever tie for the #1 spot on the list: Dallas Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska, and the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas.

Using ridiculous conservation claims, this ‘terrible trio’ has colluded to import 18 young elephants kidnapped from their mothers and families in Swaziland to be put on display for the amusement of zoo visitors, in a bid to boost attendance. If the zoos succeed, the elephants face a life plagued by captivity-caused problems such as chronic pain, obesity, high infant mortality rates, infanticide, psychological trauma and behavioral disorders, infertility, tuberculosis, and often-fatal foot disease and arthritis.

In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick said “If you want to help protect elephants, don’t visit the zoo and instead help support real conservation efforts that keep wild animals in the wild where they belong.”

“Evidence shows that elephants are not thriving or self-sustaining in zoos. Urgent action must be taken to stop these greedy corporations from plundering elephants from the wild to populate emptying zoo displays,” stated Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals. “We call on all remaining zoos with elephants to join the many others that have closed their archaic exhibits, and send the elephants to sanctuaries where they can live in peace.”

1 Dallas Zoo, Tex., Henry Doorly Zoo, Neb., and Sedgwick County Zoo, Kan.
2 Natural Bridge Zoo, Vir.
3 Oklahoma City Zoo, Okla.
4 Wildlife Safari, Ore.
5 Buttonwood Park Zoo, Mass.
6 San Antonio Zoo, Tex.
7 Oregon Zoo, Ore.
8 Monterey Zoo, Calif.
9 Buffalo Zoo, N.Y.
10 Southwick’s Zoo, Mass.

Bronx Zoo, NY

Edmonton Zoo, Alberta, Canada

For more information, please visit


Images of the elephants:

Closed or closing elephant exhibits:

### ENDS ###

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in India, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS • 3010 KERNER BLVD. • SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 • 415-448-0048