IDA’s “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants” List

 In Defense Of Animals Releases 2011 “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants” List

Contact: Catherine Doyle, 323-301-5730,

In Defense Of Animals Releases 2011 “Ten Worst Zoos For Elephants”

San Rafael, Calif. (January 16, 2012) – The 2011 list of the Ten Worst
Zoos for Elephants, released today by In Defense of Animals (IDA),
once again exposes the hidden suffering of elephants in zoos, where
lack of space, unsuitably cold climates and unnatural conditions
condemn Earth’s largest land mammals to lifetimes of deprivation,
disease and early death. The list is in its eighth year.

A promising trend toward the closure of inadequate elephant displays
continued in 2011 and includes zoos that have appeared on IDA’s annual
list. The most recent are the Central Florida Zoo and Southwick’s Zoo
in Massachusetts. The Toronto Zoo’s appearance on the 2009 list
sparked a campaign that led to the closure of that exhibit in 2012.
This brings the number of zoos that have closed or will close their
elephant exhibits to 22, and zoo experts expect that number to rise.

Zoos making the 2010 list are:

1.    Edmonton Valley Zoo (Canada)
2.    Reid Park Zoo (Arizona)
3.    Buttonwood Park Zoo (Massachusetts)
4.    Topeka Zoo (Kansas)
5.    Niabi Zoo (Illinois)
6.    St. Louis Zoo (Missouri)
7.    Little Rock Zoo (Arkansas)
8.    Columbus Zoo (Ohio)
9.    Wildlife Safari (Oregon)
10.    Honolulu Zoo (Hawaii)

In addition, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (California) earns yet
another dishonorable mention, and the San Antonio Zoo (Texas) becomes
the newest inductee into the Worst Zoos for Elephants Hall of Shame, a
special honor reserved for the worst repeat offenders.

Another result of IDA’s relentless advocacy for elephants in zoos has
been the creation of an historic management policy by the Association
of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The new policy calls for an end to
handling that requires keepers to share the same unrestricted space
with elephants. If the AZA is serious about enforcing this policy, it
will facilitate an end to the use of the bullhook, a weapon used by
keepers to threaten and often inflict painful physical punishment.

“IDA’s Ten Worst Zoos for Elephants list illustrates the many serious
problems that condemn elephants to lives of misery in zoos,” said IDA
Elephant Campaign Director Catherine Doyle. “These include abnormal
repetitive behaviors, hyper-aggression, social isolation, and deadly
conditions such as foot and joint disease caused by lack of space and

“Scientific research has shown what elephants need: space to walk
miles every day, large families with whom to spend their lives, and
rich natural environments,” said Doyle. “Caging elephants in zoo
displays is not humane and it is not conservation.”

For more information, please visit

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