Elephant 'gift' creates a stir
SAFE is disappointed that plans to import another elephant from Sri Lanka are underway despite opposition in New Zealand and overseas.
A 5 year old elephant called Nandi is soon to undertake the gruelling journey to our shores to join Anjalee, the previous elephant sent from Sri Lanka. She’ll live at Auckland Zoo, along with Burma, their existing elephant.
"Nandi’s deportation has been cleverly packaged as a gift to New Zealand, but the truth is that Nandi will leave her home and her family to become yet another spectacle for the public to gawp at.” says Hans Kriek. “The zoo needs a ‘flagship species’ that will attract visitors, and they know elephants are the perfect drawcard. She will live out her life as a mascot for the rest of her disappearing kin, and bring in the revenue to keep the zoo afloat.”
Some of the worlds most prominent international zoologists and respected elephant experts have publically appealed against plans to import more elephants here. Over twenty distinguished animal behavourists and animal advocates have written to express their concerns. These include: Will Travers of Born Free Foundation, Dr Joyce Poole of Elephant Voices and Peter Stroud, a zoological consultant, along with representatives of Amboseli Trust for Elephants, RSPCA, Elephant Aid International, In Defense of Animals, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Humane Society International.
When plans were originally announced for their new elephant programme were announced, The Born Free Foundation said; (we) “are alarmed by reports that young elephants from Sri Lanka may soon be transferred to Auckland Zoo. Exporting elephants from range states to overseas zoos is ill-conceived, unsustainable and inhumane. We firmly believe that this proposed export to New Zealand will result in little or no conservation benefit to wild elephants, and come at a significant cost to the welfare of the individual elephants involved. We are urgently calling on the governments of the countries involved to reconsider this move.”
Animal welfare advocates in Sri Lanka also oppose the move. Sagarika Rajakarunanayake, head of Sathva Mithra (Friends of Animals) said “we are very disappointed. We wrote three weeks ago asking the government to stop this practice. I think they don’t even read our letters."
SAFE continues to oppose the keeping of elephants in captivity.
- Read what the experts think about keeping elephants in zoos
- Opinion in The Herald
- Hans Kriek’s interview with Mark Sainsbury
25 February 2015