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Santa Ana Zoo Will No Longer Offer Elephant Rides

Photo of an elephant ride at the Santa Ana Zoo in 2002 by The Consortium via Flickr
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Allegations of animal abuse prompted an investigation into the elephant rides offered at the Santa Ana Zoo, and now several months after video purporting to show that abuse came to light, the Zoo has announced they will no longer offer elephant rides.

However, points out the OC Register, the investigation did not make a ruling on the footage, but rather led to a decision to end the rides "based on a policy change by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums," according to Santa Ana city parks director Gerardo Mouet.

In order for the Zoo to keep its AZA accreditation, the rides must stop, because the safety policy of the organization stipulates "zookeepers not share space with an elephant without a protective barrier between them."

In addition to the rule change and the video footage, protesters have spoken out against the Zoo in objection to their practice of offering animal rides.

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The rides at the Santa Ana Zoo were offered by a business called Have Trunk Will Travel. They describe themselves as a privately-funded and "a family of people that truly cares about the well being of elephants."

In 2008, the Santa Ana Zoo also came under fire from animal activists who were upset the venue was hosting an event involving an elephant being surrounded by a giant soap bubble. That same elephant, Tai, was the elephant painted by Banksy and put on display at a controversial art show in Los Angeles.