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Elephants - Free vs. Protected Contact

Discussion in 'Europe - General' started by Crowthorne, 21 Nov 2015.

  1. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    13 Jan 2014
    Posts:
    383
    Location:
    Hertfordshire, UK
    I've recently been working my way through the Abenteuer Zoo DVDs. Even though they are quite old now (most seem to date from the 1990s) its been fascinating to watch them. One thing I have noticed is that back then nearly all elephants seem to have been kept in Free Contact. Ever since reading Thomas French's 'Zoo Story', and going on a tour of the elephant barns at Whipsnade earlier this year, the concept of FC vc PC has been of interest to me. I searched the forums to see if there were any threads about this and found this one for the USA: http://www.zoochat.com/22/protected-contact-vs-free-contact-211703/

    The only collection holding elephants that I am familiar with is Whipsnade, where the females are kept FC, and the breeding bull is PC. It does sometimes feel odd somehow that the females are regularly walked onto the top of the Downs, almost like taking cattle to graze, although the elephants obviously enjoy the walk and change of scenery.

    Does anyone know how things stand in Europe and the rest of the UK? Are things changing at all? How are things done at different zoos? Is there a difference of contact type between African and Asian Elephants?