THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

IMPRISONED. ISOLATED. IGNORED.

DOCUMENTARY

14 MINS

DIGITAL / 16:9 / 25FPS / 1920x1080

ENGLISH

DANISH, SPANISH, ITALIAN, POLISH

HUNGARIAN, NORWEGIAN

SUMMARY    ELEPHANTS    FILMMAKERS     NARRATOR     CONTRIBUTORS     STATEMENTS     ORGANISATIONS     FAQ    LINKS

The Elephant in the Room is a short narrated documentary that aims to increase awareness about the plight of captive elephants held in isolation in zoos and circuses across Europe.


Made by four final year documentary film students at the University of Hertfordshire in association with Born Free Films, it was part funded by the Warner Bros. Creative Talent scholarship, and filmed across Europe and the USA.


It is narrated by Virginia McKenna, produced by Amanda Gardner and directed by Tariq Chow.



SHORT SYNOPSIS


Elephants in the wild live together in family groups traversing massive expanses of land, keeping them physically and mentally healthy. Yet for decades young Asian and African elephants have been torn from their families and then transported thousands of miles to zoos and circuses in the West, where they are often kept alone for the rest of their lives. This film lays bare the shocking consequences for such elephants in Europe, condemned to solitary confinement; imprisoned, isolated and ignored.



LONG SYNOPSIS


Elephants, the world’s largest land mammal, live in habitats across Asia and Africa with access to water and natural vegetation. They move together across huge areas of land in close-knit families, with females never leaving their mothers’ sides in adulthood. In their natural environment elephants can live up to 70 years. Incredibly, they also show self-awareness and empathy towards other sick or dead elephants.


Yet, for decades, infant and juvenile elephants have been torn from their families in Africa and Asia and taken away to be kept in zoos, to perform in circuses, or to be presented as diplomatic gifts. After being transported thousands of miles to western countries and other parts of the world, they are given relatively little space to move, insufficient opportunities to perform natural behaviours, and are often condemned to a lifetime of solitary confinement. In such conditions many have deteriorated physically and mentally whilst others have perished, as life expectancy in captivity decreases dramatically.


Set against the backdrop of the incredible story of Pole Pole and the efforts of Born Free’s founders to save her, academics, experts and activists use current cases of elephant captivity to illustrate the very real consequences of such imprisonment, and offer a potential solution to stop the suffering for these isolated and ignored animals.

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