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African Lion Safari named worst zoo for elephants in North America

'African Lion Safari is a cruel, dangerous, and profit-driven business supported by zoos,' said Will Anderson, Elephant Campaign Coordinator for In Defense of Animals
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A well-known safari adventure and tourist attraction in Ontario has been ranked as the worst zoo in North America.

“In Defense of Animals,” an animal protection organization based in California, says African Lion Safari in Hamilton is “shamed as the number one Worst Zoo for epitomizing the ugly business of endless elephant trafficking.”

“African Lion Safari is a cruel, dangerous, and profit-driven business supported by zoos,” said Will Anderson, Elephant Campaign Coordinator for In Defense of Animals.

“This Zoo, and others doing business with it, operate like an elephant-trafficking cartel. While Canada considers Sen. Sinclair’s ‘Jane Goodall Act’ to stop these abuses, elephants are being denied who they are and what they need. The African Lion Safari elephants must be sent on one final trip – to an accredited sanctuary for life.”

The 10 Worst Zoos of 2020, according to In Defense of Animals:

  1. African Lion Safari, Hamilton, ON
  2. Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth, TX
  3. Pittsburgh Zoo, Pittsburgh, PA
  4. Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, NY
  5. Monterey Zoo, Salinas, CA
  6. Myrtle Beach Safari, Myrtle Beach, SC
  7. Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA
  8. Memphis Zoo, Memphis, TN
  9. Cameron Park Zoo, Waco, TX
  10. Hogle Zoo, Salt Lake City, UT


Anderson says African Lion Safari “boasts” about having the most Asian elephants in North America — with 16 Asian elephants who have been forced to produce 21 calves — the zoo sets its animals “in freezing-cold Ontario, Canada.”

In Defense of Animals also claims African Lion Safari forces elephants to perform “demeaning tricks for tourists and carrying people around on their backs, while handlers stand by with bullhooks.”

“African Lion Safari has a long history of collusion with zoos in separating females from their tight-knit social groups, often as part of a series of family separations and transfers to other zoos. This ‘transfer abuse’ violates elephants’ social, psychological, and emotional needs and promotes lifelong trauma,” he said in the release.

680 NEWS has reached out to the African Lion Safari for a statement but has not yet heard back.

“Our 10 Worst Zoos list shows how zoos are killing elephants and taking needless risks with human health,” said In Defense of Animals President, Dr. Marilyn Kroplick.

“This pandemic has shown us how serious zoonotic disease can be, yet many of the zoos on our list encouraged direct contact with elephants which could potentially spread disease to visitors, including young children and infants. We call on all zoos to stop endangering members of the public and send elephants to accredited sanctuaries.”

The zoo remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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