The International Day of Action for Elephants in Zoos (IDAEZ) on June 19, 2010 is a global event aimed at bringing attention to the plight of elephants in zoos and ending their suffering. Last year, committed activists in 33 cities in 7 countries held outreach events and demonstrations, drawing media attention and educating the public about the tragic effects of keeping elephants in small, unnatural zoo pens where they are suffering and dying prematurely.

The plight of elephants in zoos around the world are 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 their 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:

  1. Educating our friends and families not to attend zoos or circuses that involve elephants
  2. Demanding that our local zoos ban importing any wild elephants to their zoos
  3. 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.

The U.S. and Canada are not alone. Currently, two wild caught eighteen-month-old baby elephants are scheduled to be sent from Zimbabwe to North Korea, as part of a sale that includes a variety of wildlife, including pairs of giraffe, zebra, antelope, hyenas, monkeys and birds. News sources are also reporting that as many as five other countries, including Japan and Mozambique, are requesting similar purchases of wild animals from Zimbabwe.

In Defense of Animals (IDA) needs our help to make this year’s Day of Action an even greater success. For more information please see: //

The Facebook event can be found at

-Windy Borman

Director/Producer, “The Eyes of Thailand