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7 July 2006 - Elephants deserve sanctuary in Thailand      

Elephants deserve sanctuary in Thailand

7 July 2006
 

With widespread ongoing opposition to the export of eight Asian elephants from Thailand, it is time for Taronga and Melbourne zoos to reconsider their plans.

From the time the export of the animals was made public more than two years ago, Thai NGOs have opposed the export citing fears the elephants may have been taken from the wild. They have also highlighted the fact that sending elephants to Australian zoos does nothing to save this endangered species and may in fact be detrimental, with the risk of encouraging an increase in black-market wildlife trading.

Not one Animal Welfare or Conservation organisation anywhere in the world has spoken out in favour of bringing the elephants to Australia.

“If the zoos really care about these animals surely it is time for them to consider alternatives such as sending the elephants to a sanctuary in Thailand,” said IFAW spokesperson, Erica Martin.

IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare), RSPCA Australia and Humane Society International (HSI) have all offered to help the zoos find a solution that is in the best interests of the elephants.

“Keeping an elephant in a zoo is like keeping a whale in a fishbowl—it just doesn’t work, and it’s time for these zoos to really prove animal welfare is a priority for them,” said Jane Speechley from RSPCA Australia.

“When will the zoos realise they have the chance to really save the Asian elephant by investing in their future in Thailand,” said Michael Kennedy from HSI.

Both Taronga Zoo and Melbourne Zoo do some good work, but in the case of elephants they are taking a huge step back in time.

Enlightened zoos around the world such as Detroit Zoo and Edinburgh Zoo are closing their elephant exhibits recognising they cannot meet the needs of these complex animals.

“We encourage the zoos to work with us to help save the species in Thailand and find these eight animals sanctuary where they belong—at home in Thailand,” said the animal welfare groups.





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