The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa needs to ensure the well-being and welfare of all the animals in their care. If this basic requirement is achieved, the mission and vision of SANBI’s scientific goal of conservation, research and education can begin to be addressed.

According to scientific studies zoos negatively impact the well-being of the animals they house. This is due to inherent aspects such as unvarying husbandry routines (Lyons et al.,1997) and constantly exposing the animals to the public (Young, 2003, Davey 2006, Davey, 2007).

One obvious and significant stressor is the noise/sound environment in the zoo. From time to time zoo animals can be exposed to potentially intense noise, for example, noise arising from automated gardening equipment or maintenance activities. Studies have demonstrated that unnatural noise can elicit stress responses in animals, especially Elephants and that whilst animals in zoos can adapt to many noises that they hear on a regular basis, a noise that is intense or unpredictable may negatively impact the welfare and induce a chronic stress response.

The National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act No. 10 of 2004) Minimum Standards for the Management of Captive Elephants, S4.22 suggests that Elephants are particularly sensitive to sound.

Noise pollution and sound pressure are increased with audience size, scientific studies analysed the behaviour of mammals at zoos and noted that zoo visitors, in general, have a negative welfare impact on individual zoo-housed mammals, especially groups of noisy visitors where levels were recorded outside of the recommended limits for human well-being.3 This study recommended that zoos needed to address this issue through a combination of visitor education campaigns and acoustic modification to enclosures.

Members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN) have monitored the Pretoria Zoo closely since 2020, because of our interest in Charlie and our support for the negotiation process between the Honourable Minister, SANBI and the EMS Foundation, to release Charlie into a natural environment.

We have therefore taken note and recorded a rapid increase in the zoo facility being utilised as an organised music festival and party venue in 2023.

It is truly wonderful to see South Africans relaxing and enjoying themselves in a safe space and the Pretoria Zoo offers such a venue, however, we do not believe that animals, especially animals that are confined to enclosures should be forced to endure these festivities.

In 2015 the London Zoo was forced to shut down its alcohol-fuelled Friday night zoo parties because sources at the zoo were concerned at the impact of visitors’ rowdy behaviour on the animals. These revelations prompted a series of petitions signed by tens of thousands of people calling on the zoo to end the parties and an investigation by the Westminster council.

For your convenience, below we have highlighted a few of the recent events held at the Pretoria Zoo. We are extremely concerned with the location of Charlie’s enclosure with regard to the proximity of the parties.

The National Zoological Gardens is a Party Venue for Hire

Our research cannot provide the results of any scientific studies conducted on the negative effects on the well-being or welfare of the animals living at a zoo when amplified music is played over a nine-hour period. Quite obviously no such study has been carried out because wild animals should not be forced to endure such invasive and unnatural conditions.

Pretoria Zoo Women’s Day Party – 5th August 2023

The Woman’s Day party event started at 09H00 and ended at 20H00 and offered an exciting line-up of DJs. The entrance tickets were sold at Computicket, according to the promoters the event was sold out.

When studying all these images and videos, we fail to establish examples of SANBI’s mission to champion conservation or provide the enjoyment of South Africa’s rich biodiversity. SANBI’s mandate is primarily derived from NEMBA and includes managing the National Botanical and Zoological Gardens as windows to South Africa’s biodiversity for enjoyment and education.”

The zoo animals, especially Charlie the Elephant, whose enclosure is visible in some of the images, are confronted with a constant barrage of music. The noise is related to all the partygoers who are so obviously fuelled by alcohol. There will be additional noise pollution related to the set-up of these events and clean-up operations of the zoo after the events.

Read about the other events and see the images in the attached letter.


The undersigning members of PREN are deeply concerned about the impact these events are having on Charlie’s physical and psychological health, his sleeping patterns and his stress levels.

PREN is of the learned opinion that SANBI and the zoo management are not demonstrating adequate consideration for his welfare. A recognised scientific organisation should never condone the behaviour demonstrated in these videos and images.

We note that there are three further party events planned in September alone.

We have noted that the visitors are obviously not interested in the animals living at the zoo as there is not a single image of the animals amongst the images proudly splashed across various social media platforms.

No animal should be subjected to this type of continuous suffering and abuse. We are, quite frankly taken aback that the SANBI scientific community could possibly condone these activities in such close proximity to Charlie’s enclosure.

PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.



Image Credit:

Excerpts from the latest correspondence between PREN and TripAdvisor reads as follows:

The undersigned members of PREN are of the view that TA should consider implementing a red-light or alert system of the facilities known to exploit elephants or not conforming to animal welfare standards, therefore disabling TA to “sell tickets for or generate booking revenue from” the facilities. This approach might incentivise such facilities to improve their criteria. 

The consideration of the development of a methodology able to detect keywords in order to penalise tourist attractions with low or non-existent animal welfare standards will be a lifesaving tool for the Elephants.

The development of an overarching system that is able to detect keywords in order to penalise touristic attractions with low or non-existent animal welfare standards, could be an effective and impactful solution that is worthy of further consideration.  


In 2001 the Thai government donated an Elephant called Muthu Raja to Sri Lanka.  On the 2nd of July 2023, following complex but determined negotiations, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand Varawut Silpa-archa, repatriated the Elephant, after reports of abusive conditions in Sri Lanka.

The associated negotiations led to the Thai government rescinding and revoking its gift to Sri Lanka and removing the Elephant from a well-known Sri Lankan Buddhist temple in Kande Viharaya

Concerns persist for the remaining single Elephant, a female known as Kumari, kept at the Kande Viharaya Temple. These concerns result from multiple reports and publicly available photographic evidence of Kumari being utilised in noisy religious and culturalparades, during hot weather, being chained with spiked shackles, standing for long periods of time often in her own urine and faeces, being utilised for rides and as selfie-props.

According to reports from eye-witnesses, local mahouts have used bullhooks in the Elephants’ eyes and on wounds to enhance dominance and control. Elephants at this Temple have been recorded as having purulent wounds, cracked and infected nails and visible scars and abscesses. There is seemingly an absence of proper veterinary care, therapy or pain relief. 

Kande Viharaya Buddhist Temple is positively rated on TripAdvisor’s website and images showcase Kumari while kept chained on concrete, away from any other Elephant. She is utilised as a prop for visitors to take photographs or for Elephant rides.  

There is overwhelming scientific evidence about Elephants’ intelligence, complex cognitive capabilities and sentience,  social needs[1], display of empathy and concern for others[2], self-determination[3]self-recognition and self-awareness. 

All Elephants require the opportunity to access expansive, diverse habitats in order to traverse long distances and exercise individual autonomy and socialization. Failure to meet these needs inevitably leads to health deterioration. The development of stereotypic behaviours generally reflects a welfare-compromised environment. 

Stereotypic behaviour, the invariant restrictive and purposeless repetition of motor patterns[4], remains the most widely used welfare indicator[5] for Elephants in poor welfare conditions, exposed to psychological stress that had direct physiological consequences on the body’s ability to function.[6] This includes neural dysfunctions, brain damage and compromised survivorship.[7]

PREN members acknowledge TA’s efforts to achieve best practices. The TA Animal Welfare Policy could make a greater difference to wild animals utilised in the tourism industry if the institutions where these guidelines are not respected are effectively penalised.

TA could further promote positive change for wild animals utilised in the tourism industry, by setting higher standards and by persuading countries with inadequate animal welfare policies to introduce regulations for the protection and compassionate treatment of those animals. 

We would appreciate your considered response to this communication.  We are available and welcome the opportunity you have offered, to engage further on this important subject matter.  

Members of PREN could form a working group of experts in order to engage with TA specialists on a Zoom forum, as you kindly suggested.  

The correspondence between PREN and TripAdvisor is supported by the members of PREN who signed the letter, a copy of which is hereby attached.

Image Credit:

©PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.


The EMS Foundation and Shambala Private Game Reserve have announced that they have jointly submitted an “Expression of Interest” as requested by South African Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Barbara Creecy and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Members of the Pro Elephant Network have supported the negotiation process initiated by the EMS Foundation with Minister Barbara Creecy since December 2020.

©Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Reserved.

©Image Credit EMS Foundation February 2023.


The Thai Royal family gifted three Elephants, including Sak Surin, to Sri Lanka, in 2001, in order for the Elephants to be trained and perform Buddhist religious rituals. Sak Surin was then renamed and is known in Sri Lanka as Muthu Raja

The members of PREN applaud the difficult decision taken by the Government of Thailand to lead the repatriation of Sak Surin from the Kande Viharaya Buddhist Temple in the Kalutara District of Sri Lanka, following concerns relating to his mistreatment. Thai authorities had to embark on a logistically, financially and politically challenging project to safely return the Elephant to Thailand.

The four-tonne male Elephant’s rehabilitation will include the treatment of his extensive injuries including abscesses, wounds and scars, which are an indication of prolonged abuse and neglect.

Elephants are large-brained mammals who display complex cognitive capabilities, and sentience, and demonstrate social needs1, empathy2, and determination3.

The Asian Elephant is able to use tools4 and, together with only a few other non-human species, such as some great apes, dolphins, rays and the Eurasian magpie, passed the mirror test, proving self-recognition abilities and a sense of self-awareness.

When males come into their annual musth cycle, their testosterone levels rise steeply making them more aggressive; all attempts to manage captive males during this process through isolation, separation and confinement, impact their welfare.

All Elephants require access to expansive, diverse habitats and move across long distances.5 They also need to be provided with opportunities for individual autonomy and socialization. These essential needs typically cannot be met in captive environments, leading to health deterioration and stereotypic behaviours reflecting the welfare-compromised environment. Stereotypic behaviour, the invariant restrictive and purposeless repetition of motor patterns6, remains the most widely used welfare indicator7 for captive Elephants in poor welfare conditions exposed to psychological stress and has direct physiological consequences on the body’s ability to function.8 This includes neural dysfunctions, brain damage and compromised survivorship.9

Extensive research highlights how Elephants can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and refers to how humans and elephants share the parts of the brain that are susceptible to trauma and the connections between the right prefrontal cortex and the limbic system and how this influences and can compromise individual’s ability to regulate stress and emotions. Research also refers to“hyperarousal” or the inability to respond adequately, which could manifest as depression and severe agoraphobia, or on the other hand, “hyperarousal”, which is hyper-vigilance, such as, for example, in

Elephants, when they charge with no provocation, or, in captivity, when they react aggressively even if there is no actual danger.

The extraordinary efforts to repatriate Sak Surin are highly commended by all the members of PREN, as well as the decision by the Thai authorities to stop sending Elephants abroad.

Reports by Elephant experts, including members of PREN, illustrate that the population of captive Elephants in Thailand in the tourism industry has increased steeply since the use of Elephants in the logging industry was banned. Microchipping and a better-maintained Elephant database are important tools to prevent the laundering of wild Elephants into captivity; nevertheless, the illegal capture and movement of live Elephants across the Myanmar-Thai border for use in tourism continue to be an issue, and the captive breeding of Elephants continues to lead to an increase in the captive Elephant population used for commercial purposes.

The negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global tourism industry presented huge challenges for Thailand and clearly demonstrated that this new industry is unsustainable in times of crisis and a liability to the well-being of Elephants relying on profits from tourism. Some camps struggled to feed and care for the Elephants, leaving many isolated and starving.

Also, a growing number of global travel companies are changing their excursion offers to exclude facilities that offer Elephant riding and Elephant shows, and are instead prioritising wildlife-watching experiences or observation-only experiences of captive Elephants. Thailand’s captive population of Elephants needs to be carefully managed as increasing numbers of captive Elephants compete for scarce resources, such as limited food for the Elephants, fragmented land use and reduced availability of skilled labour in mahouts; in addition, an increased dependency on income from tourists has led to a lower quality of care.

The global trend away from the utilisation of Elephants in tourism will negatively affect the mahouts. An unpublished study by Chiang Mai University has shown that over one-third of the mahouts have no life savings and depend on a minimum wage job while bearing significant risks of serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Efforts need to be focussed on providing alternative livelihood opportunities for people who currently rely on the exploitation of captive Elephants.


Sak Surin, one of the three Elephants donated, grew to become a large tusker. Most male Asian Elephants have tusks, Sak Surin developed extremely large tusks which reach the ground when the Elephant walks. Such tuskers are prized for their ivory. The members of PREN recommend that the authorities take all precautions to make sure that Sak Surin/ Muthu Raja is not exploited for his exceptional features.

Please find a copy of the correspondence between the undersigned Members of the Pro Elephant Network and the Honourable Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand:


Image Credit:

©PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.


The controversial and highly irregular import of twenty-two wild-caught Namibian Desert Elephants into permanent captivity to two zoos in the United Arab Emirates is a clear example of lax CITES enforcement. The current status all these Elephants is unknown.

Since December 2020 when the sale of these Elephants was announced the Members of PREN have repeatedly attempted to engage with the Namibian CITES authorities as well as the CITES Secretariat in an attempt to prevent the capture of these Elephants.

CITES authorities have had every opporuntiyt and have been provided with sufficient evidence to stop the sale and capture of the wild rare desert-adapted Elephants in Namibia. The CITES Secretary General, Chair of the Standing Committee and Chair of the Animals Committee were provided with detailed information which could have used to prevent the Elephants from being exported from Namibia and imported into the UAE.

READ THE FULL LETTER addressed to the Head of CITES in the UAE, the CITES Secretary General, the CITES Legal Officer, Chair of the CITES Standing Committee, Director General of the Al Ain Zoo, Operations Manager for Animals at Sharjah Safari Park, Executive Office of EAZA and IUCN African elephant Specialist Group:

©Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Removed.




Read the Full Letter:

The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) consists of a significant international community of diverse individuals and organizations, comprising specific expertise, related to wild and captive African and Asian Elephants, including but not limited to the fields of science, health, conservation, welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law.  

Bunka is an Asian bull Elephant, he was born in captivity at the Tbilisi Zoo, in Georgia. His mother, Malka, was captured from the wild in 1997 in Laos and arrived at the Tbilisi Zoo as a calf in 2000. Malka gave birth to Bunka when she was only ten years old. Bunka’s father, Bacho, of unknown origin arrived at the Tbilisi Zoo in 1999, where he died prematurely in 2009.  Malka was separated from Bunka in 2014 when he was sent to the Yerevan Zoo. Elephants have strong social bonds and suffer tremendously when separated from family members.  

PREN wrote a letter of concern to the Administrator of the Yerevan Zoo on the 21st of September 2021 after it was alerted about Bunka the Elephant’s solitary life in the zoo. PREN members requested access to Bunka in order for experts to assess and establish his health and well-being and offered assistance to the zoo administration. 

The Friends of Bunka organisation,  a member of PREN, has subsequently attracted significant global support for Bunka, this includes a petition signed by 78,000 conservationists and concerned members of the public, who are calling for his safe release from captivity. 

The undersigned members of PREN are grateful that Mark Stratton and Tina Papadopoulou, from the Friends of Bunka organisation and a team of Elephant specialists, comprising Dr Marion Garaï, Ingo Schmidinger, Brett Mitchell and Tenisha Roos, were granted access to Bunka in order to conduct a comprehensive, physical and behavioural assessment of him at the Zoo in November 2022.  

The results of this expert assessment  have been published in a well-referenced Report which includes the following important concerning information: 

  1. Concern for life-threatening physical well-being, in particular, Bunka’s feet which indicate the presence of an abscess and cracked nails;  
  2. Concern that Bunka is malnourished; 
  3. Bunka’s eyes are visibly inflamed which is an indication of poor health and below-standard living conditions;  
  4. Bunka exhibits extremely dry skin;  
  5. Abrasions on his tusk which could be an indication of self-harm;
  6. Concern for the abnormal behavioural indications for example stereotyping, his repetitive behaviours such as walking in circles, the exhibition of pathological boredom and depression. 

Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Reserved.



The Members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN) and the EMS Foundation have submitted Expert Assessment Reports of Charlie, the solitary elephant at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, to the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

Charlie, is an African male elephant, who was born in Hwange National Park in 1982, was captured and exported to the Brian Boswell Circus in South Africa in 1984 and was sent to the National Zoological Gardens on the 30th of July 2001. 

The EMS Foundation and members of PREN have been in discussions with Minister Barbara Creecy since the 16th of December 2020, negotiating the very best retirement options for Charlie, based upon the recommendations of the most experienced elephant experts in the world. 

Charlie’s expert psychological and medical rehabilitation, his relocation to, and his reintegration into a protected natural environment would arrive at no cost to the South African Biodiversity Institute, the South African government, or the South African taxpayer. 

Charlie’s Behavioural Assessment Report was co-authored by Dr Marion Garai, Dr Keith Lindsay, Dr Toni Frohoff and Dr Joyce Poole. 

  • Dr Marion Garai is an Ethologist, a member of the IUCN SCC, chairperson of the South African Elephant Specialist Advisory Group  trustee of the Elephant Reintegration Trust.   
  • Dr Keith Lindsay is a Conservation Biologist and Environmental Consultant with over 40 years of professional experience, he is the author of the Solitary Elephants in Japan Report and co-author with Dr Rob Atkinson of a Report endorsed by 25 leading specialists which explains why expansive, diverse habitats are critical to keeping captive elephants physically and psychologically healthy.
  • Dr Toni Frohoff is an Ethologist and Behavioural Biologist with thirty years of experience.  Dr Frohoff is the Founder and the Science Director for TerraMar Research.
  • Dr Joyce Poole is an Elephant Behaviour Specialist, the Co-Founder and Co-Director of ElephantVoices. Dr Poole has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for over forty years. Dr Poole has dedicated her life to the conservation of elephants and their welfare.  

Charlie’s Medical Assessment Report was co-authored by Professor Dr Thomas Hildebrandt, Dr Frank Goeritz Dr Amir Khalil and Dr Mariana Ivanova, and under the supervision of South African veterinarian Dr Brett Bard.

This specialized, expert medical team were responsible for the rehabilitation, relocation, and initial phases of integration of Kaavan, once called the loneliest elephant in world. This team have also recently treated the four African elephants in the Karachi Zoo and Safari Parks who conducting lifesaving, unique and complicated surgeries from which all four elephants have recovered. Dr Brett Bard is a South African veterinarian, practicing in the Karoo in the Western Cape.

The Members of PREN and the EMS Foundation are looking forward to receiving Minister Creecy’s earliest response and engaging on this matter further with her so that the recommendations made by the experts can be fulfilled in the best interests of Charlie. 

We would like to take this opportunity to warmly and gratefully thank all the experts who have so generously participated in these important assessment processes. 

Image Credit: Charlie at the Pretoria Zoo, South Africa, 01.03.2023

©The Pro Elephant Network 2023. All Rights Reserved.


“We are cognisant of the fact that TripAdvisor implemented an Animal Welfare Policy in 2016 which was updated in 2018. Included in this policy was a guideline not to sell tickets for shows and performances in which animals are forced to perform demeaning tricks or unnatural behaviours.”

In 2019 TripAdvisor consulted with a number of scientists, including ethologist, behavioural biologist and PREN member Dr Toni Frohoff, with the objective to expand the TripAdvisor Animal Welfare Policy to end commercial relationships with facilities that breed or import captive whales and dolphins.

The government of the United Kingdom is presently reviewing the Animals Abroad Bill. The Bill has passed a second reading and is currently undergoing a detailed review. If the Bill passes, the sale and advertisement of activities which include low standards of welfare for animals will be prohibited. The Bill is enjoying widespread and high-profile public support. A petition by the Save the Asian Elephant organisation, also a member of PREN, was supported by 1.1 million signatures.

Members of PREN believe that this is an excellent opportunity for TripAdvisor to update their Animal Welfare Policy by removing activities which provide for low standards of welfare for animals and in doing so comply with the most up-to-date international legislation.

Members of PREN who have supported this submission have highlighted the cruel treatment of Elephants in Kerala.


PREN members have recommended in their submission that TripAdvisor should not advertise facilities that are exploiting elephants in Kerala but should instead, focus on promoting places where elephants can be viewed in their natural environment, in large parks, reserves and accredited elephant sanctuaries.

PREN members acknowledge the important role that TripAdvisor can play in promoting positive change, by setting higher standards in tourism and by persuading countries with inadequate animal welfare policies to introduce regulations for the protection and compassionate treatment of those animals involved in the tourism sector.

PREN 2023. All Rights Reserved.



On Friday 17th of February 2023, Members of the Pro Elephant Network sent an urgent open letter the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency and Members of the Executive Council about an elephant called Tswale who is currently being utilised for human interactions on a piece of land which is being advertised to be auctioned on the 23rd February 2023.

This letter follows two previous communications to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency on the 30th September and 16th of November 2022 which have not been acknowledged.

Tswale a bull elephant was captured at Selati Private Game Reserve in 2004 aged 9 with a female elephant named Modjadji aged 11, he was translocated to Elephants for Africa an elephant training facility in Limpopo, in 2006 they were translocated to Kwa Madwala Private Game Reserve in Hectorspruit where they were utilised in the elephant back safari business.

The EMS Foundation offered the owners of Modjaji and Tswale the opportunity to retire the elephants in 2019, this offer was rejected.

While the elephants were chained Modjaji and Tswale suffered injuries in 2022 when they were spooked by hunters and or when a herd of wild elephants entered the property upon which they were being held. Modjaji’s was not able to recover from her injury.

This is the third elephant in captivity to have died unnecessarily in 2022 in the Mpumalanga Province.


On the 16th of December 2022 the Members of the Pro Elephant Network sent urgent communications to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the CITES Authority in Namibia, to the CITES Secretary General, the CITES Legal Officer, Chair of the Standing Committee, the IUCN Elephant Specialist Group, the Co Chairs of the African Elephant Coalition and Parties to CITES who submitted the Revision of Resolution Conf.10.10 (Rev. CoP18) on the Trade in Live African Elephants.

Read the full communication signed by PREN Members:

Excerpt from the communication:

“You will recall from previous correspondence dating back to  December 2020, that the Members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN) share a specific interest in the protection of the African Elephant. The expertise of PREN Members encompasses both free-living and held-captive Elephants; the network consists of scientists, academics, wildlife conservationists, representatives from wildlife protection and welfare organisations, environmental lawyers and economists as well as representatives from social justice organisations and indigenous community leaders.   

We note that at the recent CITES meeting in Panama in November 2022, Parties unanimously agreed that while the process for a dialogue meeting is underway to discuss the long-term rules around exports of live wild-caught African 

Elephants, any such exports will be limited to in situ conservation programmes or secure areas in the wild, within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa, except in exceptional circumstances where, in consultation with the Animals committee, through its Chair with the support of the Secretariat, and in consultation with the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group, it is considered that a transfer to ex situ locations will provide demonstrable in situ conservation benefits for African Elephants, or in the case of temporary transfers in emergency situations.  

Members of PREN previously attempted to engage with representatives from the Namibian government regarding the capture and sale of twenty-two free-living, desert-adapted Elephants which were subsequently exported from Namibia to captivity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) this year. 

PREN members specifically requested information on the Non-Detriment Findings for the aforementioned transfer, as well as any scientific data supporting the capture and subsequent sale, which has, to our knowledge, never been made public. 

As we are sure you will be aware, two legal opinions[1] have been published regarding the controversial capture and export of free-living Elephants from Namibia, which questioned the legality of exports of live Elephants taken from the wild to captive facilities overseas. We note that the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria publicly distanced themselves from the captive facilities in UAE that received the exported Elephants. 

Furthermore, the capture, sale and trade of the twenty-two Namibian Elephants to the UAE was raised as an issue of concern at the 74th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee in Lyon in France (8th-12th March 2022), and again at the 19th Conference of the Parties held in Panama City in Panama (14th-25th November 2022).

CITES CoP19 agreed to a moratorium, limiting any export of live wild-caught African Elephant to in situ conservation programmes or secure areas in the wild, within the species’ natural and historical range in Africa, except in exceptional circumstances on further live exports while harmonized legal framework is negotiated.

Members of PREN have been reliably informed that six wild-caught Elephants are still being held captive on Mr Gerrie Odendaal’s property, from which the twenty-two Elephants were exported to the UAE in March 2022. 

In the interests of transparency amidst global public concerns, members of PREN hereby formally and publicly request the following information from the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism as a matter of urgency:

  1. Confirmation of the holding facility;  
  2. Sex and age of the Elephants;
  3. Details of the capture, its location and copy of justifications for it; 
  4. Copies of all permits; 
  5. Details of sale transaction between the government and private parties; 
  6. Report from the welfare authority on the animals’ status and well-being;
  7. Copy of Non-Detriment Finding in case of planned future export of the Elephants; and
  8. Information on the intentions for these Elephants going forward. 

We hereby request that: 

(a) The Namibian government immediately puts in place measures to prevent the export of the six Elephants to captive facilities, in recognition of the Decision taken by the Parties at the CITES CoP19; 

(b) The Namibian government prioritises their return to their free-living life and herds. 

Image Credit: G.H. Odendaal

©Pro Elephant Network 2022. All Rights Reserved