A UK zoo will no longer keep elephants after admitting it can’t provide the “necessary environment” for them. The story was published in the Mirror in response to a statement from Paignton Zoo.
Paignton Zoo in Devon used to have two elephants – Asian elephant Gay, who died in 2010, and African elephant Duchess, who died in 2019.
The attraction, which is celebrating its 100th birthday, has confirmed they will not be replaced, Devon Live reports. It said: “Elephants are highly intelligent and have very complex social and behavioural needs.
“As much as we loved Duchess (and her companion, Gay) and as popular as she was with our visitors, we do not believe that we can provide the necessary environment for elephants here at Paignton.” The zoo added that it continues to support elephant conservation in the wild.
A statement said: “We have been working to protect the Omo Forest Reserve in Nigeria since 1997 and this is one of the last remaining places in Nigeria where forest elephants still survive. Visitors are therefore still helping protect elephants when they visit our zoo, even though we no longer have any here.”
Last year – when there were 51 elephants in 11 zoos across the UK – it was reported that keeping elephants in zoos or safari parks would be phased out. Importation of new elephants would be prohibited and the existing population would be allowed to die out naturally.
The news delighted campaigners who said that elephants, which are highly intelligent animals, suffer from mental illness in zoos. The RSPCA said it also causes them physical ailments such as crippling arthritis.
Read the full article in the Mirror here.