photo credit: Jacob Bøtter via Flickr

A Zoo is Trying to Get 4 New Elephants: Why this needs to be stopped

I’ve just heard some unbelievable, devastating news: A Japanese zoo has announced it’s going to import 4 elephants from Myanmar (i.e. Burma).

The zoo is called the Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Japan. And it is currently trying to get: 1 male elephant, 1 young female elephant (for breeding purposes) — and also a mother and a baby.

Here are just 3 obvious reasons why this act must (and can) be stopped:

1. The elephants will suffer in the cold.

The elephants will come from a subtropical climate where average winter temperatures only go as low as 20 degrees Celsius (68F). In Sapporo, Japan— where this zoo is located — average winter temperatures of minus 7 degrees Celsius (19F). Elephants don’t have fur coats. Imagine what it would feel like to to have to stand outside in the snow, without a jacket, for months on end? It’s cruel and unnecessary.

The captivity of Lucy the lone elephant in a Canadian zoo is protested by animal welfare experts and activists alike. They point out that the cold climate of Edmonton is far too cold for an Asian elephant. Well here’s the thing: Edmonton and Sapporo weather is very similar. To subject four more elephants to these unnatural, sub-zero temperatures is unacceptable.

2. They will be forced to live decades in unethical living conditions.

Four young elephants would have to survive a long, traumatic transport all the way to Japan. If they even make it that far, what will be their ‘reward?’ They will forced to spend the rest of their lives cold, bored and trapped. Some captive elephants in Japan live an average of 60+ years. Imagine the life this baby elephant would be sentenced to: confined to a space the size of a small parking lot (at best), forced to do circles its whole life. All so the zoo can attract more customers … and make a bigger profit.

“Leg down!” Japanese trainers with a baby elephant from South Asia.

So here’s the good news: We can still stop this.

The city of Sapporo, Japan has been trying to become a bigger tourism hot spot. The global community needs to send a clear message: This is NOT the type of activity a world-class tourism destination should be engaging in.

Please sign and share this petition to stop this totally unnecessary trade:

Finally, for those of you who followed and supported our campaign to help Hanako the elephant: This zoo, the Maruyama Zoo, also had an elephant named Hanako, who died in 2007 at the age of 60. This Hanako lived for 8 years alone, in a concrete cell, after her best friend Lily died in 1999 at the age of 38 from a foot infection. Here is a photo of her:

Hanako stands alone before her death, at Maruyama Zoo, in Sapporo Japan, which is trying to get FOUR new elephants.

Let’s send a clear message: No more Hanakos please. No more Lucys. No more elephants alone or cold …. trapped in zoos.

Hanako’s old enclosure at the Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo, Japan. Can a zoo who keeps an elephant like this, ever be trusted?