The elephants can’t move. Metal chains are wrapped around their legs, holding them firmly in place. The only thing they can do is sway their heads back and forth, and tentatively reach out their trunks.
These elephants are residents of Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, a zoo in Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. Eight months ago, the elephants had access to a large enclosure where they could roam freely, stand in grass and even wade in a shallow pool. But when the enclosure shut down, the elephants were moved to a concrete area at the back of the zoo, where they spend up to 24 hours a day in chains, according to Upreshpal Singh, director of Friends of the Orangutans, a local animal welfare group.