Written on Behalf of Anne, Great Britain’s Last Circus Elephant
Lord Zac Goldsmith of Richmond Park, Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, House of Lords
Viscount Ceawlin Thynn, Owner of Longleat Safari Park
Bob Montgomery, CEO Longleat Safari Park
Matthew Ford, Specialist Wildlife Services United Kingdom
Andrew Murrison, Member of Parliament
Tuesday 19th January 2021
For many years the wildlife conservation and wild animal welfare organisation Born Free appealed to Bobby Roberts, the owner of an elephant called Anne, to provide her with a decent and peaceful retirement away from the circus ring of the Bobby Roberts Super Circus.
According to our research, reports state that Anne was imported from Sri Lanka, she arrived in the United Kingdom in 1957 aged approximately four years. By the time Anne was eventually rescued, she had been in the service of circus owners for fifty-four years.
On the 23rd of November 2012, Bobby Roberts was found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to Anne. Anne was chained up and repeatedly beaten by her groom.
Animal Defenders International secretly filmed the abuse at the circus in Northamptonshire, in the United Kingdom between January and February of 2011. Ownership of Anne was signed over to Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, home to the late Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath. In April 2011 Anne was moved to Longleat Safari Park so that she could receive veterinary care.
According to Action for Elephants UK and ADI, Anne’s move to Longleat was always meant to be a temporary arrangement because Longleat did not have the correct facilities nor the qualified staff to look after Anne’s special needs after suffering mentally and physically for decades.
AN URGENT APPEAL FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL VETERINARY ASSISTANCE FOR MALIKA, SONU, NOOR JEHAN AND MADHU BALA, THE FOUR TANZANIAN ELEPHANTS AT THE KARACHI SAFARI PARK AND ZOO
8TH JANUARY 2021
This appeal was delivered by hand to the Chief Metropolitan Commissioner and the Minister for Wildlife, Mr Murad Ali Shah and Chief Minister Sindh.
This appeal was also sent electronically to Advisor to the Prime Minister, Mr Malik Amin Aslam; the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency, Director-General Farzana Altaf Shah; the Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism in Tanzania, Dr Damas D Ndumbaro; High Commissioner Sylvester Mwakinyuke Sangala Ambokile, Tanzanian High Commission to South Africa; High Commissioner Mazhar Javed, Pakistan High Commission to South Africa; Sofie H. Flensborg, Legal Officer, Legal Affairs and Compliance CITES Secretariat; Ivonne Higuero, Secretary General CITES; the Chairperson of the African Union, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; the Minister of the Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy and Mahera Omar, Founder of the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society
The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) consists of an international community of diverse individuals and organizations, comprising expertise from both western and eastern academies, including the fields of science, health, conservation, animal welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law.
URGENT VETERINARIAN INTERVENTION
Members of the Pro Elephant Network have received images and videos of Malika, Sonu, Noor Jehan and Madhu Bala, four elephants held in captivity at the Karachi Safari Park and at the Karachi zoo. The same images and videos are being circulated on various social media platforms. Elephant experts have analysed this material and have advised that in order to prevent unnecessary premature death, an urgent medical assessment and intervention is required.
Members of the Pro Elephant Network are willing to offer expertise, specifically to provide much needed critical veterinary and husbandry support. The implementation of high-priority measures is needed to mitigate the elephants’ critical state of health and to alleviate their obvious suffering.
AN OPEN LETTER PREPARED BY THE BORN FREE FOUNDATION ADDRESSED TO:
His Excellency Hagers Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia Private Bag 13339, Windhoek, Namibia
Honourable Minister Pohamba Penomwenyo Shifeta, Ministry of Environment and Tourism Private Bag 13306, Windhoek Namibia
Her Excellency Linda Scott, High Commissioner High Commission for the Republic of Namibia 6 Chandos Street, London W1G 9LU
The CITES Secretariat
December 2020 Your Excellencies, Honourable Minister,
We, the undersigned are writing respectfully to express our grave concerns relating to proposals to offer live elephants for commercial sale from regions of Namibia, where they are reported to be overpopulated, affected by drought, and/or in conflict with local people.
According to a tender notice posted by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) in The Namibian in December 2020, as many as 170 live elephants, including adult males and family groups, are being offered for sale from the Omatjete area, Kamanjab commercial farming area, Grootfontein-Kavango Cattle Ranch area and Grootfontein-Tsumkwe area.
The proposed sales will not achieve the stated objectives of controlling populations or reducing human-elephant conflict. Moreover, the capture and relocation of elephants could have extremely deleterious impacts on the health and welfare of the individuals concerned, the stability of their wider societies, and the health of the ecosystems of which they are an integral part.
South African National Day of Reconciliation, 16th December 2020,
AN OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER BARBARA CREECY REQUESTING THE RELEASE OF ELEPHANT CHARLIE AT THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS INTO THE CARE OF ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANISATIONS
The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) consists of a global community of diverse individuals and organization, comprising expertise from both western academies (including the fields of science, conservation, animal welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law) and the indigenous paradigm.
Zoos are places where wild animals are kept in captivity and are put on public display. Across the world wild animals are sold to and incarcerated in zoos for the controversial purpose of human entertainment and so-called education.
Recently, the members of the Wildlife Animal Protection Forum of South Africa wrote an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa questioning the relevance of zoos in a democratic South Africa of the twenty-first century.
The history of elephants in zoos in South Africa is one of extreme exploitation, violence and death, which saw baby elephants, mainly between the ages of two and seven, violently removed from their mothers and families, who were often killed in front of them, through the highly contested and contentious practice of culling―a methodology introduced by the Apartheid state at the height of the ivory trade.
PREN is of the view that the elephant care standards adopted in South Africa zoos are woefully inadequate, unethical and untenable. Elephants live highly complex social and emotional lives and are defined by space and movement. Elephant cannot survive in near or complete isolation. Zoos rob elephants of their most basic needs and for this reason there is a high mortality rate.
THE PRETORIA ZOO
The National Zoological Garden of South Africa, the Pretoria zoo, is the largest zoo in the country and eighth largest in the world and was founded in 1899. The zoo covers 85 hectares of land in central Pretoria. The South African National Biodiversity Institute known as SANBI was established on the 1st September 2004 through the signing into force of the National environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 by President Thabo Mbeki. SANBI manages the National Botanical and Zoological Gardens. SANBI’s mandate is to reveal and celebrate biodiversity for the benefit, enjoyment and education of all South Africans.
The welfare of elephants in zoos is directly dependent upon the quality of life they experience, which in turn is driven by the understanding the zoo keeper has of the specific needs of elephants.
This understanding may or may not be informed by scientific knowledge. Sub-optimal conditions and husbandry practices can result in injury, disease and poor mental health. It is critical that environmental conditions, management and husbandry techniques are employed that promote positive physical and psychological health for all elephants in human care. Currently a well-publicized, worldwide debate between zoos and animal protection and welfare groups about elephants in captivity is taking place. At issue is whether zoos can provide enough space to properly care for elephants. This This dispute has led several zoos to eliminate or phase out their elephant programs.
We are concerned about the high number of deaths of elephants at the Pretoria zoo we would like to highlight some of the details surrounding the history of some of the elephants.
Kaavan, dubbed ‘the loneliest elephant’ in the world, arrived safely in Siem Reap in Cambodia on the 1st December 2020. There was a collective sigh of relief at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary as moments after he exited his bespoke travelling container he gave himself a dust bath―a very elephant thing to do.
Kaavan has captured an empathetic international audience who have watched in fascination and respect as he explored his new temporary enclosure, while he ate the specially prepared food and for a brief second the world held its collective breath as he touched trunks with his new elephant neighbour.
No one has watched Kaavan’s first steps more closely than the people who have worked so hard to achieve his freedom and the opportunity for a better life.
Indeed, this is the time to celebrate and to appreciate the five years of hard work carried out by various wildlife activists and campaigners in Pakistan and around the world. We congratulate the achievement of singer, Cher, on her success. We acknowledge with deep thanks and admiration, the significance of the legal application to the high court in Pakistan by Kaavan’s lawyer, Owais Awan, a colleague and member of PREN, which ultimately set him free. We are deeply grateful that the courts of Pakistan have recognised Kaavan’s rights as a sentient being.
The scope of the huge project to physically move Kaavan from the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan to a Sanctuary in Cambodia cannot be underestimated.
For months the expert team from Four Paws including, Ingo Schmidinger, a colleague and a member of PREN from iScapes, who worked with Kaavan to gain his trust. We acknowledge the expert care of Dr Amir Khalil from Four Paws and Dr Frank Goertiz from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. Kavaan’s diet was adjusted, he was treated with care and respect by all these experts as he was gently guided to become accustomed to his travelling container.
Over the past few days his farewell party at the zoo and every leg of his incredible journey has played out across the world media―Kaavan’s story is trending on all social media networks. The members of the Pro Elephant Network (PREN), a network of fifty-three specialists, would like to use this unique opportunity to emphasise the reasons why elephants should never be held in captivity.
Kaavan, a male elephant was born in 1985 in Sri Lanka, he was ‘gifted’ to the government of Pakistan and he has been living in the Islamabad `zoo ever since. In 1990 he was joined by Saheli, an elephant from Bangladesh, and after she died in 2012 Kaavan was apparently chained up in his enclosure. The signs of the severe stress and loneliness he has suffered are at times plainly obvious and very difficult to watch.
Elephants have a highly complex, social structure, biology, size and spatial requirements. They are highly intelligent, sentient, and cognitive beings. In the wild elephants can walk 50 miles a day, yet elephants in captivity are often offered enclosures that are less than 500 square meters per elephant, and often chained; they are deprived of their most basic needs such as extended social relationships and freedom of choice. Consequently the welfare of elephants kept in zoos is severely compromised and untenable.
Many captive elephants live completely alone. Zoos must phase out their elephant ‘exhibits’ and refrain from subjecting more elephants to captivity. Those currently held should receive more humane treatment and more appropriate environments.
Members of the Pro Elephant Network believe that the story of Kaavan will highlight the plight of many elephants who live in solitary confinement in zoos around the world and the urgent need to give them better and meaningful lives.
If an adult bull elephant incarcerated in a zoo for decades with his health compromised by the confinement can be successfully transported 4,000 kilometres from Pakistan to Cambodia it means that rescuing and rehabilitating elephants in captivity is definitely doable and achievable. It just requires our will to let them go.
This statement is endorsed by the following members of the Pro Elephant Network
Owais Awan Environmental Lawyer – Islamabad
Dr Harvey Croze Collaborating Researcher, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Kenya
Suparna Baksi-Ganguly President and Co-Founder, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Center, Bangalore, India
Dr Brett Bard Veterinarian, South Africa
Dr Jessica Bell Rizzolo Postdoctoral Researcher, the Conservation Criminology Lab, Dep of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University
Professor David Bilchitz Director, South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public and Human Rights and International Law – South Africa
Dr Gay Bradshaw Director, Kerulos Center for Nonviolence – USA
Megan Carr Founder, Rhinos in Africa – South Africa
Lenin Chisaira Founder, Advocates 4 Earth – Green Law Connect, Zimbabwe
Dr Betsy Coville Wildlife Veterinarian – USA
Nomusa Dube Founder, Zimbabwe Elephant Foundation
Stefania Falcon Co-Founder, Future 4 Wildlife, South Africa
Michele Franko Senior Research Associate – Elephant Care & Wellbeing at the Kerulos Center for Nonviolence United States of America
Chief Stephen Fritz Chief, South Peninsula Khoi Council – South Africa
Dr Marion Garai Elephant Behavior Specialist – South Africa
Rachel Harris Managing Director, Elephant Human Relationship Aid, Namibia
Dr Ross Harvey Environmental Economist, Botswana
Alok Hissarwala Gupta Elephant Specialist, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations
Iris Ho Senior Wildlife Specialist, The Humane Society International
Peter Hodgskin Founder, Hands-off Fernkloof, South Africa
Lynne James Committee member of Mutare SPCA, Zimbabwe
Dr Paula Kahumbu WildlifeDirect, Kenya
Professor Mohan Kharel Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
Nuria Maldonado Ecologist, Environmental Science, Max Plank Institute
Jim Karani Advocate, Lawyers for Animal Protection in Africa
Dr Winnie Kiiru Founder, Conservation Kenya
Rob Laidlaw Executive Director Zoocheck Canada
Kahindi Lekalhaile Africa Network for Animal Welfare, Kenya
Dr Smaragda Law Director, Ban Animal Trading, South Africa
Dr Keith Lindsay Conservation Biologist, Kenya
Giorgio Lombardi Warden Vogelgat Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
Linda Masudze Advocate 4 Earth, Zimbabwe
Varda Mehrotra Executive Director, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations
The Pro Elephant Network is made up of local and international members who embrace the expertise from western academies (including the fields of science, conservation, animal welfare, advocacy, economics, community leadership, writing, the media, social justice and the law) and members from the indigenous paradigm. Our network includes scientists, researchers, academics and specialists with vast experience in the field of nature conservation, ecology, the welfare, wellbeing, rehabilitation and reintegration of Elephants.
The signing Members of the Pro Elephant Network hereby formally request that CapeNature rejects applications for the permits relative to the introduction of Elephants (and other large herbivores) to the area known as Lamloch Farm in Kleinmond, Western Cape in South Africa.
We do not believe that the negative impact of translocating and keeping Elephants on the property with consequences which include, but which are not limited to, the impacts on vegetation and delicate ecosystem of this biosphere and the impact on the Elephants themselves have been satisfactorily assessed.
Whilst it is our understanding that an Elephant Management Plan has been approved for the property by yourselves, presumably as part of the developer’s application for approval under the Threatened or Protected Species Regulations, 2007 and/or the Western Cape Nature Conservation Ordinance, our members at their request have not been privy to such a plan.
The lack of transparency is in contradiction to the South African National Development Plan 2030 which emphasizes the role of transparency in creating an accountable, open and responsive public service, including access to information and administrative justice. Transparency is an important element of public accountability. Section 32 of the Constitution enshrines the right of access to information. The Batho Pele principles state that government administration must be open and transparent.
Component II: Elephants in Captivity – General (page 110 – 117)
Elephants are highly social and have the largest social network of any mammal yet studied other than humans. There is a vast amount of research on elephant biology and behaviour which show that humans and elephants share the same attributes – once thought unique to humans.
The susceptibility of elephants to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder demonstrates that among all species, elephants are extremely vulnerable to suffering in a captive setting.
What we have learned about elephants means that we are confronting very real ethical issues in relation to our current policies and legislation that affects them.
Globally there is huge concern for the well-being of elephants in captivity, particularly in relation to abuses attributable to the captive elephant industry, including:
Capture of juvenile elephants from wild family groups.
Cruel training and controlling methods – which typically involves the use of physical and psychological punishment.
The conditions in which elephants are kept.
The safety of people handling them.
Several high profile cases illustrate these concerns, particularly in relation to ‘training’.
The captive elephant industry has a history of cruel, abusive and domination training and deaths of handlers.
The use of elephants in the elephant back safari industry is not only highly detrimental to elephants, but it also increases the risk of injury for personnel as well as the general public.
In SA the training and keeping of elephants in captivity persists without adequate monitoring or control.
As far back as 2005 a number of local and international animal protection organisations warned that South Africa can ill afford a rapidly growing captive elephant industry sliding out of control – but this is precisely what has happened.
Once captured, elephants used in the elephant back safari industry and circuses are subjected to absolute control, social and physical deprivation, and in many cases, psychological and physical violence.
Early trauma, chronic stress, and deprivation are common to elephants in captivity. The added stress and trauma exerted by such practices as beating, negative reinforcement, chaining, physical abuse, and social isolation further undermine elephant well-being that transmits laterally (among other elephants) and vertically (across generations). The experience of elephants in captivity is equivalent to that of many human prisoners and victims of torture.
Mr Owais Awan Advocate for the Petitioner H. No 168, Hill RoadPakistan Medical Co-operative Housing Society (PMCHS) Sector E-11/2 Islamabad firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Dr. Anis-Ur-Rehman Chairman of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Office of IWMB Murghazar Zoo Islamabad email@example.com
Ms. Mishael Ali Khan Founder of Friends of Islamabad Zoo (FIZ) House No. 31-A Street 23, Sector F-6/2 Islamabad firstname.lastname@example.org
c/o Kevin Schneider Executive Director Nonhuman Rights Project email@example.com
8 June 2020
Dear Advocate, Chairpersons and Directors,
On behalf of the Pro-Elephant Network (PREN), a collective of global Elephant scientists, researchers and activists, we congratulate you on your stupendous and historic victory in the High Court of Islamabad.
The world is delighted and thrilled at the Order given by Hon’ble Chief Justice C.J. Athar Minallah, High Court of Islamabad, Pakistan when he recognized the right to life of non-human animals and directed that Elephant ‘Kaavan’ of the Marghazar Zoo and the Black Bear, must be immediately moved to a sanctuary. This, alongside the required move of all the other animals from the zoo in due course into more appropriate facilities, is an extremely welcome move.
Elephant Kaavan reflects the fate of other Asian Elephants in captivity, which have been ‘gifted’ as a token of diplomatic exchange and appreciation. Elephant Kaavan, who was given by Sri Lanka in 1985, has, consequently, been suffering and in distress for over three decades. His fate was followed keenly by many animal welfare groups all over the world, as he remained confined to a small enclosure in a zoo.
To Mr Imran Khan Reader of His Lordship Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. Athar Minallah Court Room No.1, Islamabad High Court, Sector G-10 Islamabad firstname.lastname@example.org
c/c Mr Owais Awan Advocate for the Petitioner H. No 168, Hill RoadPakistan Medical Co-operative Housing Society (PMCHS) Sector E-11/2 Islamabad email@example.com
c/c Dr. Anis-Ur-Rehman, Chairman of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board Office of IWMBMurghazar Zoo Islamabad firstname.lastname@example.org
8 June 2020
On behalf of the listed Members of the Pro-Elephant Network (PREN), a global community of elephant scientists, researchers and activists, we congratulate you on your outstanding victory in the Hon’ble High Court of Islamabad, where the rights of non-human animals have been recognised in a ground breaking Judgment.
Your historic presentation of the case of Elephant Kaavan, deprived of life and freedom for 35 years, and the hard work it entailed has gone to make this legal battle with few, if any, precedents.
The Asia for Animals Coalition in collaboration with Animals Asia have appealed against the cruel use of animals in Vietnam’s circuses for years. Investigators have recently discovered that Dam Sen Circus has gone back on their word almost a year ago to stop using macaques in performances and again are using them and a host of other animals in their shows. Therefore, we are writing to them again to ask them to cease these cruel activities.
A COPY OF THE LETTER, ADDRESSED TO:
Mr Nguyen Quoc Anh
General Director Phu Tho Tourist Service Joint Stock Company Number 15 Road 2 Lu Gia Plaza Building Ward 15, District 11, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Re: The continued use of wild animals in Dam Sen circus
Dear Mr Nguyen Quoc Anh,
25th March, 2020
We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals Coalition, representing international animal welfare and conservation organizations. We express our deep concern with regards to the continued use of wild animals within the animal circus at the Dam Sen Tourist Park in Ho Chi Minh City.
Our investigations have revealed that Dam Sen Tourist Park is again using macaques and pythons, together with some other animals, after nearly one year of not using wild animals in their circus performances.
This decision goes against the global trend of a dismissal of animal circuses, where over 57 countries and regions have issued a complete or partial ban of all animals for circus performances.1 Within Vietnamese communities, there are more and more people speaking up for animals and expressing their opposition to animal performances.
We believe that continuing the animal circus performances will have negative impacts on Dam Sen Tourist Park’s reputation. In addition, Dam Sen is registering to become a member of the South
According to data from Animal Defenders International updated to January 2020 East Asian Zoos and Aquariums Association, whose policy does not accept the use of wild animals in circuses.
Scientists warn that wildlife can transmit diseases to humans. In light of the increasing spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I am sure you will agree that your performing wild animals currently pose a threat of disease transmission to the trainers, performers and audiences of the shows.