A new ranking of the worst zoos in North America for the treatment of elephants has put Ontario's African Lion Safari at the top of the list.
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The In Defense Of Animals 2020 list examines zoo practices that harm elephants, such as the performance of unnatural tricks, "'transfer abuse' trauma through repeated shipments," and isolation.
"African Lion Safari in Ontario, Canada, is ranked as the #1 Worst Zoo for acting as an elephant trafficking hub," says the organization.
The complete list of zoos are as follows:
- African Lion Safari, Hamilton, ON
- Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, TX
- Pittsburgh Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA
- Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, NY
- Monterey Zoo, Salinas, CA
- Myrtle Beach Safari, Myrtle Beach, SC
- Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA
- Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN
- Cameron Park Zoo, Waco, TX
- Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT
IDOA alleges that the African Lion Safari "breeds elephants for sale," and "dominates elephants with bullhooks."
The report also states that the zoo "endangers children and adults by encouraging them to ride elephants for profit."
IDOA suggests that the only way to remedy the abuse of these elephants is to "phase out [these] exhibits and send the captives to accredited sanctuaries."
Narcity has reached out to the African Lion Safari for their response to these claims and we will update the story when we hear back.
It's not the first time
The African Lion Safari has been named in a similar report before.
In 2019, the World Animal Protection called out its "cruel and outdated" practices, particularly its circus-like activities that cause great distress to the animals.
The organization highlighted practices such as having elephants carry tourists on their backs for rides, dress up in costumes, paint pictures with their trunks, and other unnatural activities.
Jungle Cat World In Orono, Ontario was also named in the report for reportedly subjecting animals to cruel, attraction-oriented activities.