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elephant lifespan zoos

elephant lifespan zoos

elephant lifespan zoos

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elephant lifespan zoos
elephant lifespan zoos

do zoos shorten elephant life spans

Elephants are usually among the top attractions at zoos. The researchers found that the median life span for African elephants in European zoos was 16.9 years, compared with 56 years for elephants who died of natural causes in Kenya’s Amboseli park. ..

why zoos are bad for elephants

The problem with keeping elephants in zoos is that their needs cannot be adequately met in a captive zoo environment. Consequently, the welfare of elephants kept in zoos is severely compromised. … In addition, zoos cannot mimic the social structure that elephants need to thrive.

why do elephants live shorter in zoos

Why Captive Life is Short

Elephants are highly social animals, and the stress of captivity often results in shortened life spans. In the wild, elephants also move constantly, migrating for miles throughout the year. The confined spaces they must live in when captive also causes them a great deal of stress.

how long does an elephant live in a zoo

Wild Elephants Live Longer Than Their Zoo Counterparts

Wild elephants in protected areas of Africa and Asia live more than twice as long as those in European zoos, a new study has found.

Animal welfare advocates have long clashed with zoo officials over concerns about the physical and mental health of elephants in captivity.

British and Canadian scientists who conducted the six-year study say their finding puts an end to that debate once and for all.

“We’re worried that the whole system basically doesn’t work and improving it is essential,” said lead author Georgia Mason, a zoologist at the University of Guelph in Canada.

Obesity and stress are likely factors for the giant land mammals’ early demise in captivity, she said.

Until these problems are resolved, the authors are calling for a halt to importing wild elephants and breeding them in facilities unless an institution can guarantee long, healthy lives for its elephants. The study will be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

Wild and Long-Lived

Mason and colleagues looked at data from more than 4,500 wild and captive African and Asian elephants.

The data include elephants in European zoos, which house about half of the world’s captive elephants; protected populations in Amboseli National Park in Kenya; and the Myanma Timber Enterprise in Myanmar (Burma), a government-run logging operation where Asian elephants are put to work.

Only the survival rates of females were analyzed because of their importance to future populations.

The findings show that captive elephants live considerably shorter lives.

For African elephants, the median life span is 17 years for zoo-born females, compared to 56 years in the Amboseli National Park population.

For Asian elephants, the results are “much more worrying because they are the rarer of the two species,” Mason said.

Zoo females only live 19 years—about half the life span of the Myanma timber elephants, which, on average, survive until 42.

What’s more, the team discovered that Asian elephants bred and born in captivity died earlier than those imported into zoos from the wild.

Mason said…

“That really surprised us,” Mason said.

“Something is happening very, very early in life in these zoo animals.

and it’s got to be happening before the age of three or four … the average age when wild-caught animals arrive in [zoos].”

Mason doesn’t know why captive-bred elephants are dying sooner than their wild-caught counterparts.

elephant lifespan zoos
elephant lifespan zoos

But if healthy adults are not able to live long enough reproduce, then the captive populations in Europe won’t be self-sustaining—a problem that American zoos already face.

Survival Strategies

To keep zoo elephants alive longer, the authors recommend routine screening for obesity (something that’s done in U.S. captive elephant populations), as well as monitoring stress via a chemical known as interleukin-6.

what do zoos do when an elephant dies

The zoo has three veterinary pathologists who would help with the job.

Checking this biological marker, which shows that the body’s immune system is battling sickness.

would allow zoo officials to intervene before the animal is seriously ill, Mason said.

Robert Wiese, collections director at the San Diego Zoo in California, was not part of this study.

He said making a comparison between the lifespan of captive and wild elephants may seem deceptively simple.

“There are just so many confounding issues, especially in small sample sizes [of] zoo animals.

that it’s hard to really separate and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples,” he said.

Huge Improvements

In 2004 Wiese co-authored a paper in the journal Zoo Biology showing the opposite of Mason’s findings: that zoo elephants live as long as those in the wild.

How Zoos Kill Elephants

Playful, mischievous and much-beloved, Mac was just two years old when he became the latest Asian elephant to succumb to the herpes virus at the Houston Zoo last month.

For animal welfare advocates, every early death is another piece of evidence that these 8,000-pound.

(3,625-kilogram) proboscideans don’t belong behind bars,

where they can become obese, diseased and stressed out.

A new study published today in Science provides the strongest evidence to date that zoo life is harmful to an elephant’s health.

How long do elephants live

As stated above, elephants are at risk of being lost. Currently, an elephant living in the wild can live up to be 70 years old. Next to humans, elephants are one of the longest living land mammals. The longest living mammal is not on land but in the ocean. The bowhead whales live for 200 years.

Although elephants can live up to 70 years, there are other factors to be considered. African elephants have a median of 56 years in the wild. On the other hand, Asian elephants have a median of 41 years.

Researchers have found that elephants in the wild and zoos have different lifespans. National Geographic reports that elephants in protected African and Asian areas live longer than elephants in zoos. Female elephants in zoos only live for 19 years.

What shortens the lifespan of an elephant?

How long do elephants live depends on the threats they face that shorten their lifespan. Elephants in the wild run the risk of losing their lives due to poaching or human conflicts. Elephants in the zoo, however, run the risk of not being self-sustaining.

How can we protect elephants

Elephant conservation is more important than ever! Elephants play an important role in their ecosystems. They dig holes for water, and as a result, this helps provide water for other animals. Elephants eat a lot during the day, and when they eat vegetation, it allows for new plants to grow and expand.

You help save elephants by supporting our elephant research. At For Elephants, we find the best elephant conservation strategies for elephants in the wild and zoos. If you would like to contribute, you can donate or purchase our apparel to raise awareness today!

elephant lifespan zoos
elephant lifespan zoos


In the wild, elephants are in danger of getting poached. Both male and female African elephants have tusks, but only male Asian elephants have tusks. Poachers hunt down elephants to kill them for their tusks. These tusks are then traded illegally in international markets. On average, 200,000 elephants are poached every year.

Elephant-human conflicts

Elephants and humans can live in harmony with each other. However, there are instances when they can have conflicts. With the rise of deforestations, elephants are faced with limited spaces and can wander into human spaces. This can lead elephants to have conflicts with humans. Both humans and elephants run the risk of losing their lives due to habitat loss.

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