What is better - a free life or a captured life?

I always believe that elephants, like other wild games, are such majestic animals that it is only right that they roam free in their natural habitat. But add in the factor of humans and their greed and things become much more complicated.

The following photo shows slaughtered elephants in Zakouma, a 3,000 sq km park of central African avannah. In 30 years the elephant population in this habitat has shrunk from 150,000 to 550. Despite the worldwide ban of ivory sale, elephants are poached for their ivory, and most illegal ivory eventually makes its way to China.

And how about captured elephants? Whenever I go back to Thailand to see the elephant I once learned to care for when I served as a volunteer in the elephant camp some years ago, I feel that it is not right for her to be captured, separated from the family, sold, chained and made to work for humans. But she is safe, well fed and well cared for.

Or look at this baby elephant playing with sawdust in a zoo in Munich. After his mother has rejected him, he is now being bottle-fed and well taken care of by the zoo.

Maybe after human presence has destroyed their homes and their natural way of life, a life in captivity is the best alternative?

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