Shock Approval: Elephants Will Be Torn From Africa And Imprisoned

Shock Approval: Elephants Will Be Torn From Africa And Imprisoned



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

Shock Approval: Elephants Will Be Torn From Africa And Imprisoned In U.S. For Entertainment

San Rafael, CA (Jan 21, 2016) – In Defense of Animals has blasted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) following an announcement today that it will allow 18 young African elephants kidnapped from the wild and their families to be shipped to U.S. zoos under the guise of protecting them. The elephants will be further torn apart from each other and imprisoned in three separate zoos for the rest of their lives; an ugly alternative to other viable plans which would have seen the elephants remain in Africa, which were ignored. The news comes one week after these three zoos were dubbed the ‘terrible trio’, and named and shamed with the #1 spot on In Defense of Animals list of the 10 Worst Zoos for elephants in North America.

“This despicable move puts cash before conservation. The elephants have been sold out to line zoos’ pockets,” said In Defense of Animals President Dr. Marilyn Kroplick. “It is deeply irresponsible of the USFWS to allow this precedent-setting removal of African elephants from Africa for a lifetime of captivity. Please avoid supporting this suffering and the conservation con – do not visit the zoo.”

“The zoos are rewarding Swaziland by paying large sums for capturing the elephants; thus making these and further captures lucrative for Swaziland and other governments” says Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., Elephant Scientist for In Defense of Animals. “This is a huge blow to conservation” she says. “Elephants in zoos will never be returned to Africa, as one would believe by the zoo’s conservation claims. These African elephants will live and die on American soil and concrete. It is the complete opposite of conservation – it is a desecration.”

Dallas, Henry Doorly and Sedgwick County zoos have spent at least $39 million on exhibits, and an additional $450,000 over five years to the vendor in Swaziland. Dr. Marilyn Kroplick noted, “Millions of dollars are being spent to bring these 18 elephants to the U.S. which could have conserved and protected generations of elephants in their natural habitats.”

The highly controversial plans by the zoos have earned them the dishonor of being shamed as #1 worst zoo, and the plans have been damned by over 75 of the world’s foremost conservation experts and elephant scientists. Sedgwick’s Director expects the move to “skyrocket the attendance” when babies are born to the kidnapped females.

Dr. Frohoff said, “Studies show elephants in zoos suffer higher early-onset illness, unusually high mortality and lower reproductive rates. Zoo captivity fails miserably to allow elephants to thrive, let alone successfully reproduce. There is no excuse for taking these incredible animals from their natural homes to restock zoos.” says Dr. Frohoff.

The three zoos claim to be saving elephants from culling, ivory poaching, drought or making ‘room for rhinos’. However, viable plans were never considered to ‘save’ the animals in their natural habitat, or relocate them on the African continent. The elephants will face the trauma of capture and cross continent relocation and risk developing chronic and often fatal physical ailments that afflict captive elephants, including foot disease, arthritis, TB exposure and herpes infection. A recent Gallup poll showed 57% of Americans are concerned by animal treatment in zoos.

In Defense of Animals is a recognized authority on elephants and produces the widely-respected list of the Ten Worst Zoos for Elephant in North America. For more information, please visit


Letter from 80 elephant experts and conservationists, including In Defense of Animals, opposing the export.

PSA against the Import by Elephant Experts.

USFWS announcement.

### 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