Updated 24 October 2002, 19.20
A new study has said that elephants in zoos and circuses are treated badly. Because of this, they have much shorter lives than in the wild.
Do you think zoos are bad for elephants?
Or do you think that they are a safe place, where they don't have to worry about poachers?
Whatever you think, email us to let us know!
Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.
I think it is unfair that elephants are kept in zoos for "entertainment". They should stay where they were born not in a cage with no space for them to run free.
Ellie, 12, Newport
I think as long as elephants have enough space and they are treated well it is better for them to be in zoos. In the wild poachers kill them. If they are in the zoo and for some reason they get ill, there will be vets on hand to cure them.
Emily, 11, Finchley
I think elephants should be set free into a nature reserve in Africa. Here they can run free and there will not be poachers but if they become ill they can still be helped by humans, therefore there will be less chance of extinction.
Sophie, 9, Bingley
I don't think that elephants should be kept in zoos. Zoo keepers are just using the elephants for entertainment, it's cruel! They should be in the wild where they belong.
Becky, 13, England
I'm unsure about this situation. It's true that elephants are killed for ivory and by farmers in the wild so it's unsafe. They are also unhappy in most zoos so that's not right. I think that the human population needs to address this. I would hate it if the only place I could ever see an elephant is in capitivity. Humans are destroying the elephants' habitats. Humans are destroying elephants for ivory. Humans are keeping these elephants from where they belong. I believe that some zoos are doing a fantastic job. They are involved in the breeding programme and also keep there animals as entertained as possible (they aren't there to entertain us!!). I also think that if we educate people then maybe the elephants could be safer in the wild. I do not agree with Louise from Stockport however, babies need to interact with other elephants if they are going to be released. They need to learn from mothers, sisters, aunties, etc.
Catherine, 16, Barnsley
Zoos are a terrible way to keep elephants safe! If we really want to do the best we can for them, we should set up protected 'national park' type areas in the elephant's habitats to protect them from poachers, but not imprison them. Zoos aren't about safety - they're about entertainment.
Alissa, 16, London
The RSPCA know what they are talking about and if they say the conditions aren't good enough, then they must be right. We have no right to say that the elephants are ok in zoos because we don't know what it's like to be locked up in a small place like that.We have to remember, they are very big animals.
Lucy, 14, Bebington
Now don't get me wrong- I LOVE animals, but elephant's should be left in zoos. If they're released into the wild, firstly, they won't know what to do, and secondly, they're caught for their tusks all the time, the poor things.
Hannah, 12, Milton Keynes
I reckon that elephants should be in the wild, but if they are kept in large places in safari parks such as Longleat I find no reason why they should be under threat or not living safely. I live no more than three mins away from Longleat and they always seem fine. One died not long ago who was over 70.
Rachel, 12, Warminster
I think elephants shoud all live in the wild because, as Becky said, elephants are having shorter lives. I care for these animals and I don't want to see them die.
Lauren, 10, Stirling
In zoos, elephants are protected from ivory hunters, so zoos are the best place. But, special protected forests are good too, as they are in they're natural habitat, and not being harmed!
Charlotte, 13, Wirral
I feel that elephants should be kept in captivity as long as the conditions are suitable. I think that if there were not zoos to conserve animals then many animals might be extinct. It would be lovely if poaching was banned so that elephants could roam free in their natural habitat but this is not going to happen for a while so while there is a chance of them becoming extinct, I think that they should be kept in zoos because otherwise we might lose these beautiful creatures altogether.
Victoria, 13, Northall
I think animals should be kept where they were born because if we started moving elephants around it would be fiddling with nature.
Charlotte, 13, Cumbria
Some elephants in the wild get shoot from farmers because they trample crops. They are safe and happy in zoos. As long as they have good living conditions they should stay in zoos.
Vikki, 14, Peterborough
I think that it is horrible that elephants should have to be kept in certain areas in zoos and I am sure that if elephants did have a choice of living in their own habitat or living all cooped up in zoos, they would choose the first option. If elephants were originated in Asia and Africa then they should stay there. As recent reports show, elephants are not living to the age that they are meant to so doesn't this tell you that there must be something wrong? The only reasons that elephants should die is if they are very old or if they have worn down all of their teeth. Elephants should stay in their own environment where they are meant to be!
Hennel, 13, Northolt
I think it is cruel to take elephants out of their original habitats. How would you feel if you where taken away from your family and put in a strange place were people looked at you? Elephants have feelings too!!
Grace, 11, Croydon
I love elephants. When Wendy the Elephant had to be put down at just 49 I was upset. I don't know if they should be kept in zoos. Elephants look much more beautiful in the wild than they ever will in zoos. They are magnificent and they should be left to live free.
Theresa, 11, Bristol
I think the RSPCA are the ones putting the elephants in danger by sending them back to their natural habitat because the poachers will kill the elephants for their ivory tusks, therefore the elephants will become extinct. If they are kept in zoos, we can breed more and keep the elephant around for many years to come. So, are the RSPCA really the royal society for the PROTECTION of CRUELTY to animals, because they are the ones that will give a green light to the poachers!!
Ben, 16, Northampton
I think it is unfair on all the animals who are kept in a zoo because they should have their own space in the wilderness and that they should have the same freedom rights that humans have.
Paul, 14, Glasgow
If the elephants are not happy, they should put them where they think they will be safe and happy, but if they are already happy...make the home bigger, give them proper food.
Samantha, 13, Milton Keynes
The RSPCA should think carefully before they ban elephants in zoos. Most of the zoos I've been in treat their elephants fairly and have good enclosures. One zoo I went to in Spain kept their elephants in an enormous enclosure which was at least a mile long. Also, if elephants were released into the wild hardly anyone would be able to see them close up ever again as it would cost too much.
Chloe, 12, Leeds
I love elephants so I think that the elephants should live in the wild because it's cruel keeping them in zoos.
Amanda, 14, Northampton
Elephants should be kept in zoos, but only if the keepers change the living conditions for the better.
Philippa, 13, Manchester
I think that is cruel to keep elephants in zoos because the areas they're kept in are tiny. In the wild they are free to travel about for miles.
Craig, 13, Normanton
I think that they should have an elephant safari park, where they have everything they need and lots and lots of space, for the zoos are small and the clips that were shown, that the elephants were a bit weedy.
Luke, 10, Crowan
I think zoos are brilliant because it gives people the chance to see animals they normally wouldn't. I also think that the RSPCA have got it wrong as if the elephants were in the wild then they would be killed by poachers or catch some deadly virus. At least in zoos they aren't at risk from death and they have a constant supply of food.
Sam, 13, Braintree
I think that elephants should be in the wild. There should be a wild life zoo where you can see the animals in their habitats.
Sepand, 12, Greenford
I think elephants should be moved back into their natural habitat where they belong. There's not enough space in zoos or safari parks!
Sara-Jane, 13, Strathpeffer
I think they should be put in the wild.
Siobhan, 10, Bearsden
If elephants are out in the wild then they might get killed but if they're in a zoo they are safe and when I went to the zoo they seemed like they were being treated properly and they have got a big space to live in. Why can't they stay in the zoo so people can go and visit them 'cos if they aren't in zoos people can't see them and it's nice to see your favourite animal, don't you think!
Jade, 13, Manchester
Elephants are only used for shows, how would you feel if you had to leave your home and go to another country???
Angela, 13, Oldham
I don't think that they should be kept in cramp spaces, but as long as they are in good conditions and happy where they are I don't see why they shouldn't be in a zoo. At least they are safe from hunters.
Mimi, 13, London
I think that no animal should be kept in captivity unless it is a breeding program, or a rescue centre. If these elephants are being treated badly then I don't even know why we're discussing this. Animal Rights come first. They should be released back into the wild, or a safari park, where they can be properly taken care of.
Aileen, 12, Bourne End
When you see them in documentaries, they seem really happy. You go to see them at the zoo and they are downright miserable. They should be allowed to stay in their natural habitat.
Ewan, 13, Scotland
I think they should be let free, let them do what they want. Would you want to live in a little cage all the time?
Lydia, 12, Northants
Elephants need space to roam, they shouldn't be kept in zoos. They aren't kept well, they live in Africa and Asia, we mustn't keep them in the UK. It's disgusting.
Claire, 10, Merton Park
I think only baby elephants should be kept in zoo. Then when they grow up they can release them into the wild.
Louise, 12, Stockport
If elephants are unhappy in zoos, they should be released, but you have to make sure they will be safe where you put them.
Wes, 13, Chew Magna