It is not as uncommon as one would think, given that zoo elephants are randomly brought together from different locales (different countries of Africa, as in the case of the former elephants at the Toronto Zoo) and most importantly, different herds. Add to the mix captive born elephants who have never experienced even one day in the wild, and the likelihood of animal personalities clashing is high indeed.#
#This, despite the fact the elephants are considered ‘social’ animals (see Thika’s Story )
Instances of elephants fighting amongst themselves within the confines of a zoo exhibit has been seen before, if not captured on camera before. The tragedy is in not addressing the needs of the elephants.
The tragedy is ignoring the fact that it is unnatural to keep migratory animals such as elephants effectively trapped in a cage. It was never right, it can never be right. Trouble, considering the elephants’ built-up anxiety levels, can only escalate.
For our elephants were born to be wild; those who remain captive and constrained deserve nothing less than the spaciousness of a sanctuary that welcomes elephants. A wildlife sanctuary like PAWS. (2)
Watch Thika, Toka & Iringa, along with other Toronto Zoo (elephants back when they were still held captive*) in a violent scuffle/elephant fight in a small segment (timestamp 1:49 to 2:30 of the creative commons archived video ‘Sanctuary for the Toronto Zoo elephants – the fifth estate’ below)
“The largest animals on earth may also be the least suited to captivity with consequences like this ( video of Thika, Toka & Iringa in a scuffle at the Toronto Zoo). Video from a number of years ago shows the elephants at the Toronto Zoo, among them Thika, Toka & Iringa, in a high state of anxiety, confronting each other with tusks. And apparently it was not the first time. Weighing twice as much as your car, as tall as the room you are in, captive elephants can do damage to one another that rarely, if ever happens in the wild.” Transcribed from: Source (1) timestamp 1:49 to 2:30
(1) creative commons video ‘Sanctuary for the Toronto Zoo elephants – the fifth estate’
(2) PAWS http://www.pawsweb.org
Images: violent scuffle at zoo from cc video ‘Sanctuary for the Toronto Zoo elephants by the fifth estate’ (1)
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P.S. About the Category AbZOOlutely Not** or The Controversy of Zoos & Others Keeping Elephants in Captivity (**A disclaimer about this category …elephants in captivity). While there are some Zoos & others that demonstrate exemplary methods of elephant care, unfortunately, they do not represent the “lion’s share”. ) And this category does not include the elephant sanctuary, true/reputable elephant sanctuaries, of course.