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Bong Su’s death shows zoos are ‘no place’ for elephants

Neil Mitchell

A zoological consultant who has previously worked as senior curator at Melbourne Zoo says elephants should not be kept in captivity.

In an opinion piece in today’s Age, Peter Stroud, who has also worked as the director at Werribee Zoo, has raised serious concerns about the suitability of breeding and keeping elephants in zoos.

Last week, beloved Asian elephant Bong Su was euthanised by zoo veterinarians suffering with arthritis and degenerative joint disease.

“He suffered a number of health issues throughout his life at the zoo that worsened and we were able to clearly relate those to the conditions in which he was being kept,” Mr Stroud told Neil Mitchell.

“Try as we might to alleviate those conditions ultimately we could only go so far in improving things for him.”

He told Neil Mitchell it was common for captive elephants to have problems with their joints and feet.

The unnatural, cramped and sterile conditions are ultimately cruel for elephants, he said.

“We could be guilty of in future of being accused of cruelty if we continue to do things that really don’t suit the animal,” he said.

He said elephants need social interaction, more stimulating environments and much more room to thrive.

Click PLAY to hear the full interview on 3AW Mornings

Neil Mitchell