Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) announced that it will permanently do away with performances that require physical contact with its eleven elephants. The decision aligns with WRS’ prior moves to discontinue its elephant rides and elephant painting sessions in 2015 – a commitment for better welfare of its animals and safety for its zookeepers. From utilising positive reinforcement methods such as offering (or hiding) tasty treats, to erecting more safety barriers, the restructuring of the existing elephant shows and physical exhibits would take up to five years to complete. According to the WRS deputy chief executive, Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, the redesigned displays would indeed encourage more natural behaviours and individual personalities from the elephants while reducing the risks posed to less experienced keepers.
Written by Julian Sng