The accident problem - background
Elephant attacks on humans are so numerous that we had to start a separate rubric in "Elefanten-Magazin". Below you can find a small selection from recent history:
- elephant-related accidents – 26/2015 (in German)
- elephant-related accidents – 25/2014 (in German)
- elephant-related accidents – 22/2012 (in German)
- elephant-related accidents – 21/2012 (in German)
- elephant-related accidents – 2010 (in German)
Unavoidable dangers in Direct (Free) Contact Management
For some 4,000 years, man has been trying to “tame” elephants; and right from the start, this tradition has been accompanied by disastrously high numbers of accidents in which countless people have died or been injured – and it continues to this very day. Unlike other powerful wild animals, almost all elephants in human care, including in zoos, used to be kept, trained and dominated in direct contact with humans, i.e. the keepers.
As a result of these husbandry conditions, the elephant became the most dangerous wild animal kept in zoos and circuses.
Over the past 150 years, hundreds of people have been killed or seriously injured by elephants in zoos and circuses. The estimated number of unreported cases of accidents in circuses (and zoos), occurring behind the scenes, is far higher. For a long time, elephant owners in zoos and circuses, both in Asia and in the West, even tried to dominate male elephants. Male elephants have killed so many people that expressions such as “There is one dead keeper for every male elephant” have become established among elephant owners. In the 20th century the problem was believed to have been solved by no longer keeping the dangerous male elephants or by changing their keeping system. However, this proved to be a fatal misapprehension.