For many of the elephants, life in captivity begins when they are ripped from their herd in the wild. Because elephants form such strong bonds with their mothers and female calves stay with them for life, the separation is psychologically harmful both for mothers and calves.
2. Parents and other members of the herd are often killed during capture of babies.
Experts estimate that as many as five adult elephants can be killed while defending a baby during wild capture. The capture is a violent process, as elephants are hit with large sticks and pulled with ropes.
3. "Breaking" an elephant is abusive.
In order to force a young elephant to become docile and fear humans, the calves are tied up and beat with sharp bullhooks that train them to obey commands -- a process that is both psychologically and physically damaging. Young elephants are often identified by their scar patterns.