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Elephant Dies of Wounds, Orphans Mourn

Written by PETA | November 18, 2011

Matthew Tosh | cc by 2.0

A female African elephant named Umoya was found lying on the ground with severe injuries Thursday morning at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. She died shortly thereafter. Umoya was one of seven elephants ripped from their home in Swaziland in 2003 and shipped halfway around the world to the California zoo. PETA and other animal protection organizations had filed a lawsuit to try to prevent their capture and had even offered to pay to move the elephants to another part of Africa.

Since no caretakers were present when Umoya was injured, no one knows exactly what happened to her, but it’s likely that her injuries were sustained during a fight with another elephant. Umoya’s babies, Phakamile, 4, and Emanti, 18 months, are now orphaned, just as their mother was when she was taken from her homeland. Umoya’s family said goodbye and paid their respects, and her babies were the last to leave.

Elephants share intensely close bonds, and they nurture and protect each other. While playful roughhousing is common, aggression and fights are exceedingly rare. In a study reported in the journal Nature, behaviorists found that elephants with traumatic experiences during their formative years—like baby elephants who see their families slaughtered during culls, which is what happened to Umoya and the other seven elephants the zoo took from Swaziland, or are taken from their home and hauled thousands of miles away to a strange and frightening environment—often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. If one of the elephants snapped from the stress of captivity and attacked, Umoya, of course, had no way to escape.

Every ticket purchased to a zoo helps perpetuate this cruel cycle. It is time to close elephant exhibits, leave elephants in Asia and Africa where they belong, and move those in zoos now, like poor, lonely Lucy in Edmonton, to a sanctuary.


Written by Jennifer O’Connor


Commenting is closed.
  • BabyBee says:

    I love elephants more than any other animal in the world (even more than humans) but as much as I hate animal captivity, there aren’t many ways to protect these amazing animals from culls or poachers. Circuses are obviously a big NO because they abuse and exploit elephants but I believe some wildlife parks/zoos are trying to safeguard elephants. I mean I rather be safe than see my loved ones slaughtered for their teeth. These days every time I turn on the TV, a family of elephants were slaughtered and their faces hacked off in the most gruesome ways for ivory, and with Asia’s demand for ivory on the rise, there’s no telling when this poaching will stop.

  • April Silverman says:

    Dolphins and Elephants are smarter than many humans, and their boredom and frustration in small cages and/or chaining by one foot in zoos and “training” beatings in most circuses, not to mention incarceration in dark, small trucks for hours every day or days at a time is so cruel and sadistic, I can’t imagine living like that day after day, decade after decade. Put yourself in their place. Please, find a better home for lonely Lucy. And stop capturing elephants! –April Silverman, New Hope, PA, USA

  • Marcia says:

    Elephants do not belong in zoos or circuses or anywhere else where people can exploit them. Same for all animals. Human behavior can be so dispicable.

  • Lori K says:

    I believe that there should be no elephants kept in captivity in zoos or animal parks. These intelligent, caring creatures are being held captive and suffer due to this captivity. More work must be done to remove all elephants who are currently captive out of captivity and into a sanctuary where they can live out there days happily. Banning elephants from zoos and parks is the only way to stop the killing. In addition, the climate in some places (i.e: Edmonton) is not conducive to the elephants health. Poor Lucy needs to be emancipated and sent to a sanctuary where she can live with other elephants and be happy.