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Happy zoo elephants!

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Nikola Chavkosk, 21 Apr 2016.

  1. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    I rarely see happy zoo elaphants, but these Asian elephants in Auckland zoo New Zeland seems that are very happy. They are walking in local forest in zoo, with their keepers. Such examples should be followed by many zoos. Look how happy they are.

    Please visit this fb page from Auckland zoo and watch the video with the post title: Since joining our zoo family last year, elephant Anjalee has captured the hearts of everyone who has met her – including Burma!

    https://www.facebook.com/AKLZOONZ/?fref=nf
     
  2. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    Excuse me, but how do you know if a zoo elephant is happy or not?
    Unless you are some kind of elephant expert of at least work with them
    on a daily basis it is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell if an elephant is happy.
     
  3. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    For now, only by watching (indirect) their behavior, facial expression, tail moving, body movings wich are identical like those in the wild or those with mahouts in Asia.
     
  4. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I believe that seeing these elephants may make you happy and so you assume you are reading their "emotions" (do elephants experience anything we know as "happiness"?)
     
  5. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    Apparently yes, if we can call the positive expression in elephants (as we see that), an happines. It's subjective but that is. After all, they are one of the most inteligent animals.

    What do you think, express yourself?
     
  6. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    I think that we do not (perhaps cannot) understand the actual emotional state of most other species. What does "happy" mean?
    Some research suggests elephants grieve. But do they feel sadness that we would recognize?
    Some research indicates elephants act compassionately. But do they feel compassion as we experience it?

    We can observe grief, although we cannot experience another's. We can observe compassion in the same way. But happiness? Sadness? We simply cannot get inside their heads.
    And yet we humans look at an animal and declare it sad or happy or angry based on what we think we'd feel in their situation or else based on reading their expression and body language as if it were another human.
    And so we have animal rights activists who oppose all animal captivity, who make unsupported declarations on whether this animal or that has enough space, enough companions, enough stimulation. But it is all human invention.
    I would never make a claim about the emotional state of any animal... except my own dog and even then I am believing what pleases me.
    If you do open your zoo, you will have people insist that your animals are sad. You will disagree. Who can show that they are correct? And how?

    Here is someone else saying pretty much the same thing:
    http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=1067
     
    Last edited: 21 Apr 2016
  7. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

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    You are right, I agree. I just I can't find appropriate word that would describe an elephant in psychological well-being, even if those elephants in Auckland zoo may be not in psychological well-being on the above mentioned video.

    How we can actualy measure the psychological well-being in elephants I don't know, maybe some experts working long years with elephants can give good explanation.
    Maybe measuring of serum stress hormone can be used as procedure for assuring that animal is not in stress, and thus it is in psychological well-being or it is ''happy''?

    It was found that serotonine is factor for happines in humans, and increasing of it's concentration in the nervous system results with happier human.
     
  8. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps. Or not. But if we succumb to applying our personal views on happiness (or diet) to the animals in our care we may become poor care givers, IMO