Elephant Liberation: Step One

Photo courtesy Amir Jacobi, Wikimedia Commons

The BBC reports the Central Zoo Authority in India has confirmed that zoos and circuses in the country will no longer be allowed to keep elephants.

That is good news. According to the BBC:

A spokesman for the authority said a binding directive had been issued by the authority for the animals to be sent to national parks and sanctuaries. It is estimated that there are about 140 elephants in zoos and circuses… The CZA says circus and zoo elephants can play an important eco-tourism role in national parks and animal sanctuaries, where they can be properly supervised by mahouts—or elephant handlers.

This doesn’t free working elephants but it does promise to liberate those in cages or under the big top. I trust these transitions from captivity to pseudofreedom will be made as humanely and elephantely as possible.



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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.