Elephants-that exercise, forage and have family live longer

This is a no “brainer”.

Research again has found that elephants live longer when they live in the wild. Some how elephants that live in zoos that get no exercise, have been removed from their families maybe traumatically in infancy, cannot forage, play and naturally take care of each other die an early death.

Even with great care zoos are penned up animal homes, never to be equated as a home away from home.

Study: Elephants live longer in wild than zoosafrican-elephant1

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer – 40 mins ago
Researchers compared the life spans of elephants in European zoos with those living in Amboseli National Park in Kenya and others working on a timber enterprise in Myanmar.

Animals in the wild or in natural working conditions had life spans twice that or more of their relatives in zoos.
Median life span for African elephants in European zoos was 16.9 years, compared with 56 years for elephants who died of natural causes in Kenya’s Amboseli park. Adding in those elephants killed by people in Africa lowered the median life span there to 35.9 years. Median means half died younger than that age and half lived longer.
For the more endangered Asian elephants, the median life span in European zoos was 18.9 years, compared with 41.7 years for those working in the Myanmar Timber Enterprise. Myanmar is the country formerly known as Burma.
Recently life spans of zoo elephants have improved in recent years, suggesting an improvement in their care and raising, said one of the report’s authors, Georgia J. Mason of the animal sciences department at the University of Guelph, Canada.
But, she added, “protecting elephants in Africa and Asia is far more successful than protecting them in Western zoos.”
There are about 1,200 elephants in zoos, half in Europe, Mason said in an interview via e-mail. he journal Science, which published the results in its Friday edition.

In Asian elephants, infant mortality rates are two times to three times higher in zoos than in the Burmese logging camps, Mason said via e-mail. And then, in adulthood, zoo-born animals die prematurely.
Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081211/ap_on_sc/sci_elephant_health;_ylt=AhTWzAA.UPEu0IzfJWcrBRh34T0D
Science: http://www.sciencemag.org
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: http://www.rspca.org.uk/
Amboseli National Park: http://www.kws.org/amboseli.html

image courtesy of National Geographic: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/animals/images/800/african-elephant.jpg

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