Singapore Zoo has announced that as of the 5th January 2015, visitors will no longer be able to ride or have contact with the elephants, as part of their adoption of a "protected contact elephant management" system.
By adopting this system- as advocated by the American Zoo Association- Singapore Zoo will pave the way for other zoos in the region to change their elephant management practices, benefiting the welfare of the individual animals, and the safety of the keepers and public.
This newly adopted system will take three to five years to fully implement as the elephant enclosures will have to be redesigned. However, from the 5th of January onwards, activities in which the elephants are taken out of their exhibits will be stopped.
We applaud Singapore Zoo for their actions, but will continue to express our concerns regarding the continuation of their twice-daily "Elephants At Work And Play", as it is our position that wild animal performances encourage animals to perform unnatural tricks, portraying them to the public in a humiliating manner, instead of showing their natural grace and beauty and thereby promoting empathy and respect.