The Elephant In The Room

Elephants in zoos live less than half as long as their leathery siblings in the wild, according to a new study.

Because of stress, obesity, herpes, TB, and separation from family and social groups, African elephants in captivity have a median lifespan of 16.9 years, compared to 56.0 years for the pachyderms in a Kenya national park (Asian elephants, like the one in the pic, show similar disparities). Study author Georgia J. Mason sums up the situation chillingly: "Currently zoos are consumers rather than producers of elephants." [NYT]