Frequently Asked Questions
1. How many zoos have closed their elephant exhibits?
24 zoos have closed or will close their elephant exhibits.
Twenty two zoos have closed their elephant exhibits, including: Virginia Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo, Greenville Zoo, BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo, Naibi Zoo, Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, The Jackson Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, Lion County Safari, Philadelphia Zoo, Alaska Zoo, Abilene Zoo, Gladys Porter Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Detroit Zoo, San Francisco Zoo, Chehaw Wild Animal Park, Henry Vilas Zoo, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, Mesker Park Zoo, Frank Buck Zoo, Sacramento Zoo, Buttonwood Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Two zoos will close or phase out their elephant exhibits including: Santa Barbara Zoo (California), Bronx Zoo (New York).
2. How many zoos have sent elephants to sanctuaries?
Eleven zoos have placed a total of 14 elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary or PAWS, including: L.A. Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, Detroit Zoo, Milwaukee Zoo, Chehaw Wild Animal Park, San Francisco Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo (Louisiana), Henry Vilas Zoo (Wisc.)., Mesker Park Zoo (Indiana), and Alaska Zoo.
3. Have any American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) accredited zoos lost accreditation for moving elephants to sanctuaries?
4. What are the primary reasons for closing an elephant exhibit?
Lack of adequate space, elephant deaths and health problems related to lack of space, lack of funding for exhibit expansion, and recognition that a traditional zoo cannot meet elephants’ needs for space for movement and health maintenance, mental stimulation, and large social groups. Bronx Zoo stated that it would “rather steer its money toward preserving elephants in the wild in Africa and Asia...”
5. What are some of the larger elephant exhibits in U.S. zoos?
6. What actions have city or state governments taken?
These documents chronicle the history of elephants at the LA Zoo. The chronology begins with the Taxon Report. The Taxon Report is mandated by the International Species Information System (ISIS). ISIS is designed to facilitate international collaboration in the collection and sharing of information on animals and their environments for zoos. According to ISIS, the zoo is obliged to keep track of all elephant birth, death, and transfer records. Yet, as you will see, some of the individual elephant records are missing.
The next documents are excerpts from the veterinary records of some of the elephants that lived and died at the LA Zoo during the last 30 years. The continuous recordation of hook wounds, electrical shocking, chaining and ongoing arthritic disease is clearly visible. Finally, while the zoo adamantly denies the current use of the hook or ankus or of electrical shocking for discipline, you can read excerpts from the current LA Zoo Elephant Management Policy and the current AZA Standards for Elephant Management. Both continue to condone the use of these devices for discipline. Plus, Mr Lewis confirmed at his deposition that he has no plans to change their longstanding policies regarding elephants.
When these records are viewed in total, the picture that the LA Zoo attempts to paint is clearly unsupported.