After 13 years from 2001-2014, studying and writing about the “Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe in Hwange”, Sharon Pincott (author of “Elephant Dawn”, among many other novels) wrote a passionate Mother’s Day letter on May 13, 2018 to Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa informing him that 287,509 people living in 227 countries have signed a “Care 2 Petition” requesting the following:
"Please end the inhumane capture and separation of young elephants from their mothers for profit selling them to China and Arab countries where they are destined for a life of loneliness and misery."
Mnangagwa promised in his press release on January 13, 2018 to end the capture of elephants from their mothers and families to be sold to zoos (a practice initiated by former President Mugabe). Tragically, more young elephants were exported from Hwange in April 2018, destined for the United Arab Emirates.
Sharon Pincott noted that no evidence exits that Mnangagwa has halted Mugabe’s policy of the capture and sale of young elephants. It is heartbreaking that after only a few months in power, this new President has already broken his promise to the citizens of Zimbabwe and people throughout the world to change this horrifying practice.
Facebook is one of the world’s largest black markets for illegal buying and selling of parts of endangered species including elephant tusks and ivory horns. According to Iris Ho, wildlife campaign manager at Humane Society International, “At a time when the world is losing 30,000 elephants a year to poachers, the amount of ivory sold on Facebook is particularly shocking.”
The Washington based law firm John, Kohn and Colapinto filed a federal complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission against Facebook last month because of horrifying amounts of wildlife being traded on closed and secret groups including tons of ivory, rhino horn, bear claws, tiger skin, reptiles. Their complaint accuses Facebook of knowingly profiting from the blood trade by Selling and placing ads for a consumer products on public and private page is managed by traffickers. Trade in wildlife products is estimated at $23 billion annually according to the UN and Interpol which often funds terrorists.
Facebook stated that the moment they find sale of wildlife endangered species or their parts it is immediately removed from their site; however these items do exist for sale and are easily found. The Kohn firm found over a dozen Networks on Facebook specializing in illegal sales including traders in Vietnam and Laos. Facebook owes it to society and the animal community to find these evil actors and prevent them from profiting off of their marketplace.
After 14 years of PETA’s campaign for Nosey (the exploited elephant whose owner used bull hooks to force her to perform) she is now happily being cared for at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee. The Lawrence County District Court Judge Terry declared that Nosey won’t be returned to the people who left her chained and swaying back and forth in her urinary waste with urinary tract, skin, and roundworm infections as well as painful osteoarthritis and signs of dehydration and malnutrition. Nosey now finally has a fairytale ending. An article below, written and published by The Elephant Sanctuary, reveals the details of Nosey's life and rescue.
November 10, 2017, Hohenwald, Tenn. — African elephant Nosey arrived safely at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee late Thursday night after she was confiscated in Alabama by Lawrence County animal control officers on Wednesday, November 8. The Sanctuary will be a temporary refuge for Nosey until the court makes a final ruling.
The Sanctuary’s Veterinary and Husbandry teams greeted Nosey upon her arrival with fresh-cut produce, bamboo, and banana leaves. Staff monitored her throughout the night and reported that Nosey showed calm interest in her new surroundings.
Over the next weeks, Nosey will be kept separate from the other elephants as her health and individual needs are evaluated.
We applaud all those who have worked so tirelessly on Nosey’s behalf. The Sanctuary Staff is committed to providing the highest standard of care for Nosey during her time at The Elephant Sanctuary.
Nosey was born in Zimbabwe in 1982. She was captured from the wild in 1984 and sent to Ocala, Florida and then in 1986 was transferred to David Meeks of the Meeks Company in South Carolina. She was purchased by Hugo Liebel in 1988 and has been traveling with the Liebel Family Circus ever since.
The Elephant Sanctuary is the nation’s largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered elephants. Located on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, TN, 85 miles southwest of Nashville, it exists to provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being and to raise public awareness of the complex need of elephants in captivity and the crisis elephants face in the wild.
UPDATE: The District Court of Lawrence County, Alabama has issued an order in response to Nosey’s custody proceedings on December 15, 2017. Custody of Nosey remains in place (at The Sanctuary). We are delighted by this progress toward The Sanctuary becoming Nosey’s lifetime home. A full statement will be released after The Sanctuary’s legal team has finished reviewing the judge’s order. There will be a hearing on June 7, 2018 to determine the legal status of Nosey's custody.
In some respects, 2017 was a banner year for the wild and captive elephants of the world. At least 44 zoos around the globe, including 29 here in the United States, have closed their elephant exhibits for good. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus took down their tents for the last time, ending a decades-long history of criminal abuse and exploitation. Prohibitions against the use of elephants for entertainment were passed in Illinois and New York State, and New York City has joined with over 100 other jurisdictions in the United States and Canada legislating partial and even full bans against the use of all wild animals in performances.
Zoos follow a losing strategy of sexually abusive captive breeding programs to stock elephant exhibits which does not further conservation of this ecologically vital species. Elephants in zoos across North America are still being forced to perform. They are subjected to barbaric bullhooks, grossly inadequate and unsuitable conditions, egregious disregard for their needs, captivity-caused health problems, cold climates, incompatible companions, and crushing isolation in endless solitary confinement.
In Defense of Animals has released the "10 Worst Zoos for Elephants in North America" exposing the shocking hidden suffering of captive elephants.
Since 2003, In Defense of Animals has released its annual list naming and shaming the worst offenders and shining a glaring spotlight on premature deaths, brutal breeding procedures, and flagrant violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
An alarming number of wild elephants are being captured and ripped from their families to be beaten before they are shipped to zoos throughout the world; 17 of them have ended up in zoos in the United States since 2015.
THIS YEAR'S WORST ZOO LOSERS ARE:
1. Topeka Zoo, Topeka, Kansas
2. Pittsburgh Zoo and International Conservation Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3. Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Omaha, Nebraska
4. Louisville Zoo, Louisville, Kentucky
5. Oregon Zoo, Portland, Oregon
6. Myrtle Beach Safari, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
7. Two Tails Ranch, Williston, Florida
8. St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis, Missouri
9. Natural Bridge Zoo, Rockbridge County, Virginia
10. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, Columbia, South Carolina
DISHONORABLE MENTIONS - REPEAT OFFENDERS
Edmonton Valley Zoo, Alberta, Canada
Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York which refuses to send “Happy” who is alone and lonely in her enclosure. Legitimate elephant sanctuaries have offered to have “Happy” transferred so that she can spend the remaining years of her life with other female African elephants in a large area; but the zoo refused.
The zoo industry is desperate to hold on to any shred of remaining credibility; launching campaigns of disinformation, obfuscation, and outright lies, and conning the public that their programs are for 'conservation'.
Elephant lifespans are considerably shorter and devoid of family love in captivity as compared to life in the wild. Captive elephants suffer and die early due to a myriad of health and psychological problems caused by their unnatural and restrictive environments. Elephants do not reproduce well in captivity and tragically, 4 of 10 baby elephants born in zoos die early. High death rates and low birth rates lead to further tragedy, as zoos plunder juvenile elephants from the wild in Africa and Asia to restock their exhibits.
The zoo industry is so desperate to deceive the public into believing they stand for conservation that they have even taken to calling small, isolated collections of one or two unrelated elephants "herds." It's shameful the depths to which this industry will sink to protect its bottom line.
According to figures from conservation organizations, Vietnam’s wild elephant population has shrunk by 95 percent since 1975 to less than 100. At least 23 wild elephants have died over the past seven years, and nearly 75 percent of them were less than a year old.
Experts say that plantations near their natural habitats are a major threat to their survival. This exact problem has been reported in Yok Don Park in the Central Highlands, which is home to the largest group of wild elephants in Vietnam.
“The big animals need a giant habitat, but theirs has become narrow and unsafe,” said Van Ngoc Thinh, director of WWF Vietnam.
Around the world, habitat destruction and ivory trade make elephants a vulnerable species, especially in Asian countries with increasingly large populations and ever dwindling space.
In a landmark decision for the UK, the Scottish Parliament has just passed legislation that forbids traveling circuses from using wild animals in their shows. The bill was proposed by Ms Roseanna Cunningham, Scotland’s environmental secretary, and was unanimously supported by Members of Parliament.
Ms. Cunningham stated that the ban is “an important act that will not only prevent traveling circuses ever showing wild animals in Scotland in the future, but will demonstrate to the wider world that we are one of the growing number of countries that no longer condones the use of wild animals in this way.”
Following this positive move in Scotland and the recent decision by The Republic of Ireland to ban wild animals in circuses, which takes effect in January 2018, there is increased pressure on the UK government to progress a similar bill. Slightly less than half of local governments in the UK have bans in place, but to date nothing exists that covers the entirety of the region.
In 2013, a bill entitled the Wild Animals in Circuses Bill was published with support by the prime minister at the time, David Cameron, and backed by 90% of the British public. However, since it’s publication, the bill has been repeatedly blocked by a small number of Tory individuals.
With animal rights and welfare organizations all agreeing that circuses cannot fulfill the physical or psychological needs of the animals, there is a growing worldwide movement to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The British Veterinary Association supports any such bans across the UK, stating “The welfare needs of non-domesticated, wild animals cannot be met within a traveling circus – in terms of housing or being able to express normal behaviour.”
Organizations such as OneKind and The Born Free Foundation continue to campaign “to bring an end to the outdated and cruel use of wild animals in traveling circuses.”
An article in "Times Live" published earlier this year delivered the exciting news that Britain's Prince Harry has been appointed as African Parks’ new president. He has long been an advocate for many just social causes, wildlife conservation chief among them. He joins his brother Prince William who is working to ensure the survival of elephants through the Tusk Trust among other wildlife initiatives. You can read the article below and watch a fascinating video detailing his work with the organization at the bottom of this page.
In an interview broadcast in the UK today‚ Prince Harry expressed his support for various environmental causes‚ saying: "Coming from a younger generation it is incredibly exciting and I feel optimistic about the future because now is a real test for‚ a real test for humanity to be able to swing that pendulum and say right in order for us to make our mark on this planet."
His father the Prince of Wales said: "We have somehow abandoned our proper connection with nature. Somehow imagined that we can manage without or we battle against her in every way instead of understanding that the future lies in working in far greater harmony with nature."
African Parks is a conservation NGO‚ founded in 2000‚ that manages national parks and protected areas on behalf of governments and in collaboration with local communities across Africa. With 13 parks under management‚ they say they have the largest area under conservation for any one NGO on the African continent.
“We are extremely honoured to have Prince Harry officially join African Parks as our President‚” Peter Fearnhead‚ CEO of African Parks‚ said on Wednesday.
“Prince Harry has had a long history supporting conservation and humanitarian efforts across Africa. He is extremely passionate‚ committed and knowledgeable about the issues‚ and is a force for conservation not just for Africa but for the world. He shares in our vision‚ and together‚ with him in this influential role‚ we aim to continue to do extraordinary things for the benefit of Africa’s wildlife and the people who live in and around these wild areas.”
Prince Harry’s first experience working alongside African Parks was in July 2016 in Malawi‚ where he served as an integral member of their team‚ carrying out one of the largest elephant translocations in history. Along with moving elephants to a new home‚ Prince Harry assisted with translocating a rhinoceros‚ a host of game species including antelope‚ buffalo‚ and zebra‚ and he facilitated in re-collaring three lions with GPS collars to help better protect them.
The organization said in a statement that together with Fearnhead‚ he also met with Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika to discuss the Presidents’ conservation vision for the country‚ as well as the work of African Parks‚ who manages three parks in Malawi and is responsible for protecting 90% of the country’s elephant population.
“In his role as President of African Parks‚” said Robert-Jan van Ogtrop‚ chairman of African Parks‚ “Prince Harry will work closely with our Board and Peter Fearnhead our CEO‚ to advance our mission in protecting Africa’s national parks. He’ll be able to help shine a light on the most pressing and urgent issues wildlife are facing‚ and most importantly‚ what people can do to help.”
In light of the horrifying reversal of the ban by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on allowing import of elephant trophies on a “case by case” basis, this is a critical moment in which New York State should lead by example to enact a ban of all Big Five Animal Trophies (elephant, lion, leopard, black and white rhinoceros, Cape buffalo), Washington and New Jersey have already enacted statutes banning import of trophies of any of the Big Five African animals.
The federal government banned import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania in 2014 because of decimation of the elephant population from trophy hunting in those 2 countries.
It is now New York State’s chance to enact the most stringent ban against all aspects of trophy hunting of the Big Five. Trump has broken his promise to keep the ban on “this horror show” intact after initial worldwide outrage when his administration first proposed ending the ban. At that time, Trump expressed his disbelief that fees paid by trophy hunters to hunt elephants and other species were dedicated to conservation; but instead financed corrupt government officials. Two of his sons have hunted the Big Five proudly posting photographs on the internet of a slaughtered leopard draped around their neck or holding an elephant tail.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service will now again allow slaughter of elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia. African elephants are endangered. Approximately 30,000 African elephants are slaughtered annually by poachers and trophy hunters. In 1900, approximately 10,000,000 African elephants roamed the continent; currently less than 350,000 remain. This is much less than the critical number for African elephants to survive extinction because female elephants are pregnant for 22 months and nurse for 3 years (which is longer than any other animal); and they cannot reproduce fast enough to replace the drastically diminished numbers of slaughtered elephants.
By allowing trophy hunting on a “case by case” basis, the USFWS will enable the wealthiest to slaughter as many animals as they wish. African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania had been banned in 2014. On July 6,2016, an almost complete ban on commercial ivory trade was passed in the US. Prior to this change, U.S. Fish and Wildlife allowed two trophies per hunter which included the murder of African lions like Cecil who was killed in July, 2015 by American dentist Walter Palmer in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The trophy of this magnificent lion was permitted to be brought back into the US.
Subsequent to the uproar of Cecel’s slaughter, Delta and 44 other airlines banned “Big Five” trophies worldwide as freight. African lions are endangered with their population having decreased by approximately 40% with estimates of only 20,000 remaining in the wild. By allowing USFWS to lift the ban on trophy hunting, Trump is apparently paying his dues to both the NRA and Safari Club International for the estimated 30 million dollars they contributed to his election campaign.
Money collected from trophy hunting ends up in the greedy hands of corrupt leaders like Mugabe - recently ousted after acting first as Prime Minister and the President of Zimbabwe from 1980-2017 ruling the country unethically for 37 years in Zimbabwe. Money collected from trophy hunting and sale of live animals to China and several Arab nations was not spent on conservation; but on personal enrichment. In his final evil act, Mugabe allowed one last sale of baby elephants to Chinese zoos and “sanctuaries”by first using helicopters and planes to herd the babies away from their beloved mothers, kept confined (where some perished) being sold into slavery. Many of these babies died in holding pens, transport, and Chinese captivity for lack of nutrition from their mothers milk (since they nurse for 3 years), from inhumane confinement and/or from a broken heart. Elephants are the most intelligent, compassionate family centered animals on earth.
Consequently, when a coward slaughters an elephant to take home a trophy it impacts the entire herd because they have such a complex close knit caring society.
New York State is the busiest of 18 states designated for ports of entry of animal trophies. From 2005 to 2014, an approximate list of Big Five Trophies imported through New York State is:
1,541 African lions
1,130 African elephants and 83 pairs of tusks
1,169 African leopards
110 African white rhinos and 3 pairs of horns.
The very crucial New York State legislation would ban importation, possession,sale, and transportation in New York State of trophies of the African elephant, lion, leopard, black and white rhino and Cape buffalo.
The United States is the biggest importer of trophy hunted endangered species in the world. In 2016, the US imported 3,249, approximately 60% of the animal trophies from six African countries: Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Since the 2014 ban on importation of African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania over 600 elephants from other African countries were shot with their trophies imported to the US. From 2014-16, over 1,000 leopard trophies were imported to the US from Southern Africa leading to a moratorium on leopard trophy hunting in South Africa since 2016. According to CITES, 182 wild lions and 276 captive bred (“canned hunted”) lions were imported resulting in approximately 43% decline.
It is time for New York State to take the moral, ethical and humane position by passing this extensive ban of every aspect of Big Five trophies.
The below video tells the inspiring story of a group of women helping to protect one of the largest remaining elephant populations in Africa.
Video journalist: Charlotte Pamment for BBC
In the below article from China's Xinhua news agency, the Tanzanian reaction to China's decision to ban the sale of ivory is detailed.
"The government of Tanzania and conservation organizations on Wednesday hailed China's decision to end ivory trade, saying the move offered hope for the future of elephants in Africa. Major General Gaudence Milanzi, Tanzania's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said "China as a country has been at the front line in fighting poaching." Milanzi said China's efforts, including the ban on all trade in ivory and ivory products, have helped to bring down poaching levels in Tanzania, calling upon other countries across the world to follow suit.
Milanzi praised the government of China for the good move which proved to the international community that it was determined to end the business and protect the animal. "These outcomes are very encouraging. We applaud the Chinese leadership in this," said January Makamba, Minister of State in the Vice-President's Office responsible for the Environment. Makamba said China's decision was consistent with its leadership in climate change and other important global issues.
"We hope other countries which have been reluctant will follow suit. Concerted global effort on the demand side makes it easier for anti-poaching efforts on the supply side to succeed," said the minister in an email to Xinhua. China has honored its commitment to ending commercial processing and sales of ivory by the end of 2017, China's State Forestry Administration has said, adding it was China's "new year gift to the elephant."
"The Chinese authorities will continue to clamp down on ivory collection as well as processing, sales, transportation and smuggling of elephant tusks," the administration said. The move affects 34 processing enterprises and 143 designated trading venues, with all of them to close, in the world's once largest ivory market. "China has long been one of the world's biggest markets for ivory. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Tanzania is very delighted to see the doors of this market closed," Amani Ngusaru, the organization's country director for Tanzania said .
"We are particularly excited to see that the government of China has followed through on a great promise it made to the world, offering hope for the future of elephants in Africa," he said. Ngusaru said it was important to realize that commercial ivory trade ban in China alone will not be sufficient deterrence for elephant poachers, adding that the same action should be taken by other nations where ivory trading is still practiced.
TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring network, said in a report in December 2017 that Japan remained one of the world's largest domestic ivory markets, and is home to an active, though shrinking, ivory manufacturing industry. The report, compiled with the support of the World Wildlife Fund, said 2.42 tonnes of ivory, including elephant tusks, antiques and jewellery, were illegally exported from Japan between 2011 and 2016.
"The country also boasts significant stockpiles of raw tusks in private ownership, a cultural legacy from its past trade," said the report titled "Ivory Towers: An Assessment of Japan's Ivory trade and domestic market". Co-author of the report Tomomi Kitade said earlier in a report that their findings show without doubt that Japan's largely unregulated domestic ivory market is contributing to illegal trade and it is imperative that Japan's role within international illegal ivory trade be recognized.
Attilio Tagalile, a Tanzanian veteran journalist now working with WWF Tanzania, said China's ban on ivory trade will considerably help in checking poaching, especially in Tanzania which lost 90 percent of its elephant population in the Selous game reserve, one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of country, between 1982 and 2014. "The ban on ivory trade in China means drastic fall of ivory prices which in turn translates into drastic fall in poaching that leads to continued existence of elephants not only in the Selous Game Reserve but in Tanzania, and in Africa in general," said Tagalile.
In January 2017, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa commended China for banning ivory trade and urged other countries across the world to follow suit. "The banning of ivory trade in other countries like what China has done will lead to ending poaching in Tanzania," said Mkapa who ruled Tanzania between 1995 and 2005. "It is better for other countries across the world to emulate what China has done in order to save the lives of elephants that are disappearing in various parts of the world," he said.
"China is not the only destination country for ivory trade, there is a number of other countries in Europe, America and the Far East, so our call is for the other destinations to ban the trade in their countries and that's where we can move on and succeed in our fight," he said. The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Tuesday also lauded China's ban on ivory trade as a major milestone step.
UWA Executive Director Andrew Seguya told Xinhua that China's decision will go a long way in the conservation and protection of the African elephants. "It gives us a lot of hope for elephants of Uganda, elephants of Africa and elephants of the world. So we congratulate the Chinese government for that decision," he said.