Monday, 06 June 2011 14:15

Elephant attack reiterates why wild animals belong in the wild

An elephant handler at Knysna Elephant Park, owned by Ian and Lisette Withers, was attacked and trampled by a 22 year old elephant named Harry. The handler is currently in hospital and has had his leg amputated.
 
The National Council of SPCAs Wildlife Unit is opposed to the use of wild animals for entertainment and keeping of wild animals in captive environments.
 
An incident of this nature reiterates why wild animals should be left in the wild and why people should not remove them from natural environments for use in the entertainment sector. This is not the first time that Harry has attacked a handler; in 2005 he killed the handler. There have been numerous attacks on handlers by captive elephants in South Africa as well as worldwide. Wild animals will always remain wild and will eventually retaliate. The NSPCA reiterates concerns regarding elephants being used in safari or similar operations, and emphasises that the behaviour of an elephant can – and has proved to be – unpredictable.
 
The NSPCA has reiterated our Statement of Policy in media releases over the years that we are totally opposed to the keeping of elephants in captivity, whether in zoos or circuses or for use in safaris or walks.  Elephants belong in the wild and this has been the NSPCA’s position since the Tuli elephant case which highlighted the abuse and trauma elephants are subjected to during the ‘training and taming’ process.
 
We urge the public not to support facilities that use animals for financial gain and entertainment. It is only by the “power of the purse” that such facilities may be made to understand that the public does not agree with this form of entertainment or method of “education”. The public should rather enjoy the immense and diverse wildlife this country possesses in their natural environments.