Elephants die earlier in zoos

Thu, 2008-12-11 22:37 by Hans · Forum/category:
Elephants in Amboseli, Kenya

A new study comparing wild, captive and working elephants has found that living in zoos can significantly shorten the animals' lives.

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Writing in the journal Science, researchers say obesity is a major cause of death in adult zoo elephants.

They also cite stress as the key factor in the death of young captive animals when they are moved from zoo to zoo.

They say ideally zoos should not take on new elephants if they cannot provide suitable environments.

Still births

The study focused on the lives of female elephants, comparing more than 4,500 individuals. The researchers looked at wild elephants in Kenya's Amboseli National Park, working elephants in the Burmese logging industry, and zoo elephant populations in Europe.

For African elephants, the average lifespan in captivity was only 19 years compared with 56 years in the wild. …

Read the complete BBC News article

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