Animal rights group says Disney's Animal Kingdom among "worst" for elephants

Posted Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Disney's Animal Kingdom made the list of 2014's "10 worst zoos for elephants" by a group called In Defense of Animals. The death of a pregnant elephant after she was transferred from Animal Kingdom to a new nonprofit center in Fellsmere was cited as a reason for Disney's No. 10 spot on the list. In Defense of Animals, a California nonprofit, released the list Monday.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6:42 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

Ok you got me at animals being drugged and moved indoors. You are completely clueless of how well run zoos and places like Animal Kingdom really operate.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:08 PM

You think they leave animals outside during a hurricane?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:41 PM
LostKause's avatar

Of course not, but it sounds like you do. lol

Do you have pets, mrchester? Do you own animals solely for your entertainment?

What about a horse stable? Farm animals? Is the large dairy near my home doing wrong because it owns cows and sells their milk to the community?

Is it wrong to feed the geese who live at the pond beside my house my leftover bread? I mean, they don't get bread in the wild.

I bet the elephants at DAK will never know what it is like to be shot at for their ivory.

If I were an elephant, I'd love to live at DAK or even Six Flags Great Adventure. Those parks look like they take really good care of their animals, and there is so much room to walk around.

Last edited by LostKause, Wednesday, January 14, 2015 10:16 PM
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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:13 PM

LostKause said:

I bet the elephants at DAK will never know what it is like to be shot at for their ivory.

I've never heard of anyone going hunting or poaching at a zoo. Meanwhile in Africa...

If I had to guess the emotion most commonly felt by wild animals, it would be fear, especially for the creatures that are not close to the top of the food chain.

I'm an animal lover and a realist. I think that if wild animals had the choice to live in the wild or captivity, there would be a waiting list at a mile long for DAK alone.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

I have seen the lion habitat, and stood in the off-stage habitat five feet from the animals. They are well-cared for, and comfortable. And by the way, how many wild lions do you know who get blood work done on a regular interval and have their health closely monitored?

Getting the animals to go inside is not particularly difficult. Apparently the big lion can be stubborn at times, but if he wants to eat, he knows where the food is.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:42 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

mrchester said:

... I don't care what happens behind the scenes. ...

I think this willful ignorance is what drives me a bit batty about mrchester. Disney was able to leverage the resources of a multi-billion dollar company when developing Animal Kingdom, an advantage zoos everywhere likely envy. A quick Google search would allow mrchester the opportunity to at least know how Disney cares for the animals.

mrchester said:

You think they leave animals outside during a hurricane?

Ignorance, with a side helping of insulting animals.

Animal Kingdom was developed around the animals. What guests see is a small part of the environment the animals live in.

And, really... "...they leave animals outside..."?

Really? Disney would spend hundreds of millions of dollars but not provide shelter for the animals that are the heart of the park?

Really? The animals aren't smart enough to seek shelter in inclement weather?

Really? Bad weather only happens in Orlando, not in Africa or Asia?


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 2:09 AM

Jeff said:

I have seen the lion habitat, and stood in the off-stage habitat five feet from the animals. They are well-cared for, and comfortable. And by the way, how many wild lions do you know who get blood work done on a regular interval and have their health closely monitored?

It sounds like they have a better healthcare plan than 99% of the US population. It's good to be the king.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 2:30 AM
a_hoffman50's avatar

Mrchester, please inform yourself on how these parks actually handle animals. They don't use sedatives the way you think they do. The caretakers think of the animals more as friends that they take care of. They don't leave them outside, but if you think that they have to be sedated to be brought inside, you are delusional.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:21 AM

@ lostKause

That is a false equivalency, I am not getting on anyone for eating meat or using animal products, using animals for work, or having domestic animals. Those animals fates and well being is certainly clear their purpose is clear. I am sure you can separate these two concepts.

@Jeff & a_hoffman50

A wild animal doesn't understand that medical procedures and care are for their benefit in captivity. This is not necessary in the wild I am sure we can agree these wild animals flourished without human intervention. As far as using sedatives this is a reality. During medical exams they are sedated, during habitat maintenance they are confined, and in florida they would certainly be brought in, for their safety. There is no way they would risk an animal getting killed or injured during a violent storm. They would also need to inspect the habitat's integrity to make sure the animals couldn't get out once the storm subsided. No matter the effort put out the captivity is what makes me sad when I see this type of attraction. The danger in transport, the negative health effects, and the unnatural life these wild animals live makes me feel this way.

@ all

I didn't call anyone cruel, I even said go and enjoy if you like it. I didn't say anyone was misinformed when they ignored info not my opinion. I didn't call anyone's opinions absurd on a public forum where people share opinions and ideas. I don't know you but I will respect your opinions, I have my own and I knew not everyone would agree when I put them out there.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:26 AM
Raven-Phile's avatar

How can you tell if someone is a vegan?

Don't worry, they'll tell you.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, January 15, 2015 8:50 AM

^ The same way you can tell if someone has the new iPhone...


But then again, what do I know?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 9:03 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Or android or windows phone. People like showing off their new toys.


Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 9:33 AM

Animals adapt to surroundings and take their cues not only from instinct and nature, but from habit and routine. Just ask my dogs who, in the morning after going potty, come in the house and sit by their dishes. They know it's time to eat. Just like yesterday and the day before that. And they know the food will come from me. They know and love me for that.

Once at AK we were on the Asia walk, and it was time for the fruit bats to go in. It was getting late and it was turning cold. All the bat keeper (is that a thing?) had to do was open the little door and wait. The bats made their way, hand over hand, (foot over foot?) to the door and eventually all of them were safe inside. I'd imagine the lions know and recognize similar cues when it's time for them to go in.
And I'd like to believe a creature of any kind would know what to do when bad weather hits.

I live in the city with the nation's finest zoo, which is home to the world's first and oldest gorilla born in captivity. Just the other day the mother of three celebrated her 58th birthday, pretty much unheard of in the world of gorillas. Colo's longevity is not due to being in the wild to fend for herself up against weather, predators (both animal and human), scarcity of food, or disease. It's because she lives in a safe, controlled environment run by animal experts.
Do animals die at our zoo? Certainly. But that's due to the circle of life, not neglect.

Big players like Columbus, San Diego, Disney and Busch must stake their reputations on the careful care and nurturing of animals. They allow us to see them and be educated by them, and I have never one time ever felt sorry for an animal at their zoos or parks.

If I had to pick an amusement park that I've visited that probably shouldn't have a zoo it's Hershey. Sorry.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 9:59 AM
sws's avatar

I loved the Hershey zoo the one time we were there in 2007. Of course, then again, I'm not a bison...

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:11 AM

mrchester said:

I'm sure the animals are not left to fend for themselves in harsh weather so the means they are drugged and moved indoors.

So when they drug these animals, many of which weigh thousands of pounds, to move them indoors, how do they go about moving them? Do they bring in heavy equipment like all-terrain forklifts and cranes? And I'm sure moving animals in that way requires some complicated rigging equipment like straps, slings, and cargo nets. I'm sure that takes some time to set up. I bet in many cases the storm has passed by the time they go through that whole exercise. You seem to know a lot about this, so I'd love to hear more of your deep insight.

Last edited by bigboy, Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:12 AM

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:44 AM

bigboy said:

mrchester said:

I'm sure the animals are not left to fend for themselves in harsh weather so the means they are drugged and moved indoors.

So when they drug these animals, many of which weigh thousands of pounds, to move them indoors, how do they go about moving them? Do they bring in heavy equipment like all-terrain forklifts and cranes? And I'm sure moving animals in that way requires some complicated rigging equipment like straps, slings, and cargo nets. I'm sure that takes some time to set up. I bet in many cases the storm has passed by the time they go through that whole exercise. You seem to know a lot about this, so I'd love to hear more of your deep insight.

Even though you asked in a sarcastic way i will indulge and say yes what you described is the kind of equipment that could be used. Depending on size. I am sure any lifting device is made in a way to not injure the animals. But They are being forcible moved since they are captive. They need medical attention because they are far from their normal ecosystem. I am sure it is made to be more comfortable than a vekoma SLC.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:45 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

There's the thing. Mrchester pretends he cares about animals, but clearly doesn't care enough to spend a few minutes online to see how Disney takes cares of the animals.

He writes "...during habitat maintenance they are confined...", and so tells us he has no idea of the scope or scale of the Animal Kingdom habitats.

If he came along and said Disney does x or y and I disagree with these practices for these reasons, I would respect his opinion. He's chosen to instead make things up and then condemn the company for the practices that exist only in his imagination, and, I'm sorry: I can't respect that kind of "opinion".

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:46 AM

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:54 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

Sorry to double post, but looky-there: mrchester is clinging to his made-up notion that Disney drugs the animals when bad weather threatens. Apparently his profound respect for animals doesn't include thinking they seek shelter in harsh weather. Mrchester: how do animals in the wilds of Africa, Asia and India survive the harsh weather there without people to drug them and move them to safety?

The animals aren't "far from their normal ecosystem," they're in their normal ecosystem. Again, mrchester's insistence on remaining ignorant of how Disney operates has him demonstrating his ignorance here.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 10:59 AM
Jeff's avatar

He doesn't know what he's talking about. Like I said, I've seen the backstage areas. I've been in the hospital. You know how they take blood from the lions? They go into the end of the enclosure, turn around, and they stick their tails through a small hatch at the bottom. They aren't sedated for that.

Also interesting, sometimes the cheetahs don't want to go in at night, regardless of the food situation. The solution? Several keepers go into the habitat and surround them, closing the circle toward the exit. This surprised me, but apparently they're really not interested in messing with humans.

Living at Animal Kingdom is the human equivalent of going from a violent and primitive culture to living at a Hyatt.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:51 PM

Jeff said:

He doesn't know what he's talking about. Like I said, I've seen the backstage areas. I've been in the hospital. You know how they take blood from the lions? They go into the end of the enclosure, turn around, and they stick their tails through a small hatch at the bottom. They aren't sedated for that.

Also interesting, sometimes the cheetahs don't want to go in at night, regardless of the food situation. The solution? Several keepers go into the habitat and surround them, closing the circle toward the exit. This surprised me, but apparently they're really not interested in messing with humans.

Living at Animal Kingdom is the human equivalent of going from a violent and primitive culture to living at a Hyatt.

Another false equivalency, unless you cannot ever leave the Hyatt, unless they want you to and they sent you to a super 8.

Find me one source that isn't Disney, a Zoo, or Seaworld that says a wild animal living in captivity is better off and more well adjusted than one in the wild, I'll read it. If you think these animals are lucky to live in captivity then you might be a fanboy.

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