PREN EXPERTS COMMENTS ON THE DFFE SOUTH AFRICAN DRAFT POLICY POSITION

READ THE FULL SUBMISSION HERE:

Member of the Pro Elephant Network welcome a Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Draft Policy Position which has a broad vision of “secured, restored and rewilded natural landscapes with thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino and leopard as indicators for a vibrant, responsible, inclusive, transformed and sustainable wildlife sector and an equitable society living in harmony with natural resources.”

The Pro Elephant Network members strongly and specifically support a phase-out of captive elephants in South African zoos, with the proviso that all due-care must be provided to elephants currently in captivity. The PREN elephant specialists would be happy to work with the South African authorities to identify the most appropriate solutions for these elephants.

IMAGE CREDIT: Dr Smaragda Louw Ban Animal Trading Johannesburg Zoo 28th July 2021

© Copyright Pro Elephant Network 2021. All rights reserved.

EXPERTS ONCE AGAIN FEAR FOR YOUNG ZIMBABWE ELEPHANTS

Members of the Pro Elephant Network have written a letter to the President of Zimbabwe, the Endangered Species Import and Export Management Office of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, the Legal Officer at CITES, the Secretary General of CITES, the chairperson of the African Union, the IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group, the Co-Chairs of the African Elephant Coalition.

PLEASE FIND A COPY OF THE FULL LETTER HERE:

The PREN experts have been reliably informed and are deeply concerned about the imminent capture of young elephants for export from Zimbabwe to captive locations abroad.

The PREN experts call on the relevant authorities to immediately suspend any plans to capture live elephants for export.

The decision that “only appropriate and acceptable destinations for live elephants exported from Zimbabwe or Botswana should be 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 transfer in emergency situations” was taken at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) CoP18 meeting in Geneva in 2019. This decision was supported backed by a coalition of African nations and the European Union, this decision must be respected.

Image Credit: Hwange National Park

© Copyright Pro Elephant Network 2021. All rights reserved.

THE PROPOSED IMPORT OF TWO WILD ELEPHANTS FROM ZIMBABWE FOR THE PESHAWAR ZOO IN PAKISTAN

PRO ELEPHANT NETWORK STATEMENT 

Delivered To:

Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan, Constitutional Avenue, Islamabad

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Climate Change and Conservator Wildlife, CITES National Authority, LG RD Complex, 5th Floor G-5/2, Islamabad

Legal Officer, Legal Affairs and Compliance, CITES Secretariat, International Environment House, 11 Chemin des Annemones, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland

Ivonne Higuero, Secretary General, CITES

President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, Chairperson of the African Union

Barbara Creecy, Chairperson of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN)

11  April 2021  

THE PROPOSED IMPORT OF TWO WILD ELEPHANTS FROM ZIMBABWE FOR THE PESHAWAR ZOO IN PAKISTAN

The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) consists of an international community of diverse individuals and organizations, comprising specific expertise on elephants and captive elephants, from both western and eastern academies, including the fields of science, health, conservation, elephant welfare, economics, community leadership, social justice and the law. 

We are referring to the Civil Petition No. 498-P/2020 pending before the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan which has resulted from Writ Petition No. 6653-P/2019 in the Peshawar High Court by Muhammed Hanif, Director of the Muhammed Hanif & Engineer Constructions Pvt Ltd. The petition seeks to secure a NOC document in order to try to complete the importation process of two elephants from Zimbabwe to the Peshawar Zoo in Pakistan. 

CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES 

There are strict rules under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) which are used to regulate the international trade in live elephants, these rules are especially relevant when the proposed trade includes removing elephants from their natural range. 

CITES is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered animals and plants threatened by trade.  The Convention was drafted as the result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) in Nairobi, Kenya.  The Convention entered into force as a global agreement among governments in 1975, Pakistan is a Party to CITES. 

On the 27th August 2019 at the 18th Conference of Parties (CoP18) to CITES in Geneva, Switzerland, CITES Parties voted in favour of an amendment to a Resolution[1]  to prohibit the trade in live elephants from populations listed in Appendix II of CITES and taken from the wild, 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 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.”


[1] Resolution Conference 11.20 (Rev. CoP18). 2019. Definition of the term ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’. CITES Conference of the Parties, Geneva, 2019. https://cites.org/sites/default/files/document/E-Res-11-20-R18.pdf

NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS South Africa

A Brief History of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa Prepared for the Pro Elephant Network

THE FOUNDING OF THE NATIONAL ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS  ALSO KNOWN AS THE PRETORIA ZOO

The Transvaal National Museum of Natural History, now known as the Ditsong Museum, was founded on the 1st December 1892. 

Dr J.W.B. Gunning was appointed as the director in 1897. 

The Museum holds large collections of mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates the Museum is located in central Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. 

A comprehensive series of educational programmes is offered to schools and students in a various South African languages.

Elephant exhibits at Ditsong Museum of Natural History, Pretoria  IMAGE CREDIT Getty Images

Gunning acted as the keeper of mammalian and ornithological collections. 

A collection of live animals acquired by Gunning were kept in the garden at the back of the Museum, these live animals formed the nucleus of the Transvaal Zoological Gardens which then developed into Pretoria’s National Zoological Gardens.

PREN REQUESTS AN URGENT MEETING WITH MINISTER CREECY

Wednesday 17th February 2021

Dear Minister Barbara Creecy,

SUBJECT OF MEETING: THE PROVISION OF SCIENTIFIC AND ELEPHANT EXPERT INPUT WITH REGARD TO A DECISION MAKING PROCESS FOR CHARLIE, THE ELEPHANT, AT THE PRETORIA ZOO IN SOUTH AFRICA

The Pro Elephant Network (PREN) hereby formally requests an urgent online meeting with the Honourable Minister to be attended by leading elephant experts and scientists.

The experts and scientists listed below have offered to assist the Honourable Minister, in order so that the best possible solution can be achieved for Charlie.

We, refer to our letter dated the 16th of December 2020 and we thank the Minister for her acknowledgement receipt of the same on the 17th December 2020.

The members of PREN are, however, becoming increasingly concerned about the physical and mental well-being of Charlie and the inadequate conditions provided for elephants at the National Zoological Gardens, in Pretoria.

Landa’s, Charlie’s companion, post mortem results and medical reports, which were also included in our letter to the Minister in December 2020, suggest the apparent consumption of sand by the elephants at the National Zoological Gardens. The consumption of sand could lead to serious if not fatal consequences. Charlie is also manifesting stereotypical behaviour of a highly stressed elephant.

The members of PREN are further concerned about the recent statement made in Parliament  “The National Zoological Garden is currently considering options as to whether to find a companion for our one remaining elephant” as reported in an article of February the 6th 2021. Acquiring more elephants is not the correct solution for Charlie, nor for the benefit of the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria.

LUCY

APPEAL FOR LUCY THE ELEPHANT AT EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO

ADDRESSED TO:

Mr Don Iveson, Mayor of the City of Edmonton

Mr Jim Facette, Executive Director
Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums

Monday 19th January 2021

The Pro Elephant Network consists of a global community of diverse individuals and organisations, united in their common concern for nature, their deep association with the natural world and their commitment to apply their experience for the greater good. 

We, the undersigned members of PREN would like to add our support to the initiatives of the many organisations and individuals mentioned in this letter, who have dedicated so much of their time and expertise in the support of seeking a better life for Lucy. Furthermore, we would like to request medical and welfare assessments and an urgent review of all options for Lucy. 

Lucy is the only elephant resident at the Edmonton Valley Zoo which is located in Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta province in Canada.   According to our research, Lucy was born in Sri Lanka in 1975. , She arrived at Edmonton Valley Zoo when she was two years old after a successfully negotiated deal, travelling over thirteen thousand kilometres via Germany from the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage and breeding centre.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and breeding centre was established by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1975 to provide food, care and sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that were found in the wild.  Numerous reports, however, dispute the fact that this facility is a sanctuary. Whilst Pinnawala Elephant orphanage is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular animal attractions, the welfare of the elephants is an ongoing cause for concern for many experts. 

In 1986 and 1987 Lucy was trucked to the Calgary Zoo, situated three hours away from Edmonton, where it was described that she was on loan for breeding purposes. Lucy was returned to the Edmonton Valley Zoo after failing to be impregnated.  A second breeding loan was arranged with the Calgary Zoo that had the same result.

ANNE

An Open Letter

Written on Behalf of Anne, Great Britain’s Last Circus Elephant

Addressed to:

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. 

KARACHI SAFARI PARK AND ZOO ELEPHANTS

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.

OPPOSITION TO THE COMMERCIAL SALE OF NAMIBIAN ELEPHANTS

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.

CHARLIE

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

INTRODUCTION

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.