June 18, 2010– The International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ) takes place this Saturday (June 19, 2010), with more than 30 events in five countries. You can help the elephants, even if you don’t live near a zoo, in two ways:

  1. Send a message to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that they must put animal welfare over zoos’ interests. Sign the letter here.
  2. Participate in the Virtual Demonstrations on Facebook and Twitter. Details here.

As I wrote last week, the plight of elephants in zoos around the world is tied to the plight of elephants in the wild in two ways. First, if wild elephants are threatened by poachers, environmental devastation, and human encroachment, then many zoos feel that the only hope for conservation is to remove elephants from their natural habitat and imprison them in small enclosures.

Secondly, elephants in zoos die (sometimes decades) earlier than if left in the wild. Part of this is due to infections and diseases they contract in their small enclosures; the other reason is elephants are too intelligent and emotional to be caged or fenced for life, which can lead to depression or violent behavior. Nevertheless, to keep the zoo populations high for “conservation” and “education” reasons, they need to have a steady supply of elephants from the wild, thus fueling the poachers or governments to capture the endangered wild elephants they are trying to conserve.

It’s a depressing cycle, but we can make a difference by:

  • Educating our friends and families not to attend zoos or circuses that involve elephants
  • Demanding that our local zoos ban importing any wild elephants to their zoos
  • Demanding that elephants in zoos and circuses be allowed to “retire” to sanctuaries, like The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or PAWS, the Performing Animal Welfare Society, in California, instead of being passed around and mistreated.

In Defense of Animals (IDA) needs our help to make this year’s Day of Action an even greater success. For more information please visit their web site.

The Facebook event can be found at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=102256893153605&ref=mf

We’ll see you (virtually) tomorrow!

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, “The Eyes of Thailand