Statement on the Separation of Captive Born Elephant Calves from their Mothers
Captive born elephants are frequently separated at a young age from their mothers for management reasons. This practice is highly traumatic both for the calf and the mother and has significant neurological and behavioural implications.
Young elephants are dependent on mother-infant interactions for developing basic social skills and ecological knowledge. Disruptions to this relationship can lead to compromised neural and behavioural development and atypical behaviour. In elephants, mothers and allomothers constitute the formative developmental circle for infant care and the creation of social relationships that persist through life. However, these fundamentals are routinely disrupted in captivity.
For the following reasons, based on fact and science, we at ESAI oppose the separation of captive-born elephant calves from their mothers.