Circus life takes a toll on wild animals’ healthMay 21st, 2009 - 4:19 pm ICT by ANI
London, May 21 (ANI): Elephants, lions and tigers might be considered the stars of a circus show, but these wild animals are least suited to life in captivity, cited the first global study of animal welfare in circuses.
The survey concluded that wild animals, on average, spend just 1 to 9 per cent of their time training, and the rest confined to cages, wagons or enclosures typically covering a quarter the area recommended for zoos.
“It’s no one single factor. Whether it’s lack of space and exercise, or lack of social contact, all factors combined show it’s a poor quality of life compared with the wild,” New Scientist magazine quoted Stephen Harris of the University of Bristol, UK, and lead researcher of the study, as saying.
According to him, the worst affected animals are elephants, lions, tigers and bears who are often confined to cages where they pace up and down for hours at stretch.
“Even if they are in a larger, circus pen, there’s no enrichment such as logs to play with, in case they use them to break the fence and escape,” he said.
Even travelling takes a toll on the animals’ health, and their itineraries could also turn out to be gruelling.
The study even cited data showing that concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in saliva from circus tigers remains abnormal up to 6 days after transport, and up to 12 days in tigers who’ve never travelled before.The researchers analysed 153 European and North American circus trips, and found that troupes only stayed at each single location for an average of a week before moving on, with an average of almost 300 kilometres between locations.
The animals are often kept in conditions drastically different from their natural habitat even after reaching their destinations.
Elephants can be shackled for 12 to 23 hours per day when not performing, in areas from just 7 to 12 square metres and very often, they could only move as far as the chain would let them- just 1 to 2 metres.
The researchers also found evidence showing that circus elephants, lions, tigers, bears and even parrots adopt repetitive abnormal movements and pacing, called sterotypies.
Also, the animals suffer ill health both from confinement and from the tricks they learn to perform.
“There is no evidence to suggest that the natural needs of non-domesticated animals can be met through the living conditions and husbandry offered by circuses. Neither natural environment nor much natural behaviour can be recreated in circuses,” concluded the study. (ANI)
- Ban elephants in circus, says PETA - Sep 17, 2012
- Britain to ban wild animals from circuses - Mar 01, 2012
- Dangerous Liaisons: Wild cats as trophy pets in UAE (With Images) - Apr 20, 2012
- Older elephants are better leaders - Mar 16, 2011
- Khan sisters oppose caged animals in zoos - Jan 24, 2012
- Captivity upsets chimps' mental health - Jun 26, 2011
- Wildlife guardians: Adoptions rise at Van Vihar (With Image) - Jun 22, 2011
- 'Water For Elephants' - an immaculate slice of a different life (IANS Movie Review) - May 06, 2011
- Gujarat declines to shift its Asiatic lions to Madhya Pradesh - Apr 03, 2012
- Animals in confined shelters harm human health - Jan 11, 2012
- Bob Barker Helps 25 Bolivian Lions - Feb 17, 2011
- PETA opposes sending elephants to Turkmenistan - Oct 28, 2010
- Room heaters, bonfires keep Ranchi's zoo animals warm - Jan 07, 2011
- Neanderthals feasted on lions - Jun 08, 2010
- Ukrainian man to spend 35 days in cage with lion - Aug 04, 2011
Tags: american circus, animal welfare, animals health, bristol uk, captivity, circus life, elephants, global study, itineraries, lions and tigers, natural habitat, new scientist magazine, poor quality, saliva, square metres, stephen harris, stress hormone cortisol, time training, university of bristol, wild animals