University of Salford - Nelly doesn't want to be alone

March 5, 2009

Elephants kept in captivity are being starved of company and the community atmosphere they need to flourish, a University of Salford study suggests. Paul Rees, senior lecturer at the School of Environment and Life Sciences, has studied Asian and African elephants in almost 200 zoos in Europe and North America. He has concluded that despite recommendations about how much company elephants need, as many as one in five are still kept alone. "In the wild, elephant social structure is complex and although the mean group size is about 11.6, elephants can also live in larger extended family units," he said. "Contact with others is crucial for the animals to develop normal behaviour patterns and friendships. There is no good reason for a zoo to keep just one elephant."

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