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Canada looks to phase elephants and apes out from captivity

Bill introduced in Ottawa proposes banning new captivity, use of these animals in entertainment
Lucy the elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, in Edmonton on Tuesday March 21, 2023. Canadian zoos won’t be able to have new elephants or apes under new federal legislation introduced this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Canadian zoos won’t be able to bring in new elephants or apes under new federal legislation introduced this week, except under specific circumstances.

Bill S-15 looks to ban all new captivity of the species except where a licence is granted for conservation, research or an animal’s best interest.

It will also fully bar the use of elephants and apes as entertainment, though that does not currently include exhibits where people can ride on an elephant.

Saskatchewan Sen. Marty Klyne is sponsoring the bill in the Senate and says it can and should lead to the “world’s first nationally legislated phase-out of elephant captivity.”

There are more than 20 elephants and approximately 30 apes in captivity in Canada currently.

Klyne says elephants and apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, are self-aware, highly intelligent creatures, and yet in Canada, they can be held in captivity even without a licence.

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