South Africa elephant park accused of 'horrific' cruelty

May 20, 2014
This file photo shows elephants in South Africa, pictured on February 9, 2013

A South African animal rights group on Tuesday accused an elephant park of cruelty after "horrific" video footage emerged of abusive training methods used on baby elephants.

"The footage shows elephant calves and juvenile elephants being chained, roped and stretched, shocked with electric cattle prods and hit with bull hooks," the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said.

This was done to break the animals' spirit so that they would obey humans, it said in a statement.

"The elephants show signs of crippling injuries with severely swollen legs and feet, debilitating abscesses and wounds," National Council of SPCAs inspector Wendy Willson said.

The video was taken on the premises of Elephants of Eden in the Eastern Cape where they were being trained for elephant-back safaris, she said.

"The calculated and premeditated cruelty of this nature that took place at this facility is a far cry from the loving sanctuary image that Elephants of Eden/Knysna Elephant Park like to portray," Willson said.

The SPCA said it laid cruelty charges with the police against Elephants of Eden, the Knysna Elephant Park, their directors and management.

If the case is brought to court and the directors and managers are convicted, they could face sentences of up to three years in jail on each charge and lose all their elephants, Willson told AFP.

"In simple terms; due to the size, intelligence and nature of elephants, training most often takes place through domination, and the breaking of the elephant's spirit," she said in the statement.

"In order to dominate or force one's will onto an animal such as the elephant, force needs to be applied and thus is a recipe for abuse.

"The captive elephant interaction industry is a form of tourism driven by greed and without any conservation benefit," she said.

A growing number of people in South Africa and around the world had been injured or killed as a result of the rebellion of trained kept in captivity, the statement said.

"Elephants of Eden and the Knysna Elephant Park are no exceptions - at these facilities two elephant handlers have been killed and others have been seriously injured."

The SPCA was initially denied access to the park for an inspection and had to call for assistance from the police, the SPCA said.

Explore further: Poachers slay six elephants in Kenya

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Poachers slay six elephants in Kenya

Apr 26, 2014

Poachers have slain six elephants including four calves in a private reserve in Kenya, wildlife officials said Saturday, as the country battles an upsurge in the illegal slaughter of elephants and rhinos.

Captive elephants in Laos face extinction

May 05, 2014

(Phys.org) —The captive elephant population in Laos will be extinct in just over a century if current management practices do not change, a University of Queensland study has found.

Shocking recording of elephant slaughter

Nov 21, 2013

The Wildlife Conservation Society released a powerful video today that features shocking audio of an elephant being shot and killed by ivory poachers in Central Africa. The video is part of WCS's 96 Elephants campaign – ...

Recommended for you

Study finds tropical fish moving into temperate waters

Dec 19, 2014

Tropical herbivorous fish are beginning to expand their range into temperate waters – likely as a result of climate change – and a new international study documents the dramatic impact of the intrusion ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.