The Fight To Free Three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants – High Court Application Filed.

JOHANNESBURG ZOO ‘INMATES’ LAMMIE, MOPANE AND RAMADIBA

A ground-breaking application for the release of three Elephants, held captive for public display purposes at the Johannesburg Zoo, was filed on the 20th of June 2022.

The application was brought by Cullinan and Associates, representing Animal Law Reform South Africa, EMS Foundation and Chief Stephen Fritz.

As sentient beings, Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are housed in an enclosure in the Johannesburg Zoo, under conditions that fail to meet even their most basic needs.  Experts have confirmed that the Elephants are exhibiting psychological distress symptoms as a result of inadequate living conditions.

There is no precedent for a case like this in South Africa, calling for the release of the Elephants to a sanctuary where they could roam freely.

Lammie has been living at the Jhb Zoo for 42 years – her entire life. In 2018, her companion of 17 years, Kinkel, passed away. At the time, the NSPCA and Humane Society International called for Lammie’s release, but the Zoo Management decided to source new companions (read ‘fellow inmates’) for her, completely ignoring the public outcry.

In 2019 the zoo ignored please to #FreeLammie and introduceds two new Elephants to her captivity instead ~ Mopane and Ramadiba.

HSI/Africa’s Wildlife Director Audrey Delsink, said: “We are furious that instead of doing the right and honourable thing for Lammie by giving her freedom in a vast sanctuary with a new elephant herd, Johannesburg Zoo has forged ahead and brought two new elephants for Lammie to share what remains of her life in captivity. Such was their haste to acquire these elephants, they have done so without completing any of the expansion or renovation work they promised and ignored both public opinion and the pleas of some of the world’s most eminent elephant experts and conservationists. The Gauteng Legislature has also utterly failed to respect the wishes of the 301,652 petitioners who called for Lammie to be released. Johannesburg zoo claims it acted legally but the question is has it acted morally, and from Lammie’s point of view the answer is no. This decision denies Lammie, and the two new elephants, the chance of a decent, fulfilling life. This sorry episode has exposed the zoo authorities as lagging far behind global trends to close elephant zoo exhibits, something that 150 progressive, modern zoos have already done in recognition of the inescapable fact that such captivity cannot meet elephants’ complex physiological, psychological and social requirements. Johannesburg Zoo may well have acted on the right side of the law, but they have found themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Despite the fact that 52 zoos across Europe and North America have closed their Elephant exhibits, there are still more than 1000 Elephants held captive in zoos around the world, for human entertainment. This figure includes 22 Namibian wild-caught desert-adapted Elephants, recently sold and transported to Dubai.

Elephants are highly social, complex animals, living in structured hierarchy in the wild, normally in herds numbering around 75 individuals. They form close ties with family members, and are not able to adapt to a life that is worlds apart from how they were meant to live.

There are many cases that illustrate the results of trauma bestowed upon Elephants during capturing and culling, such as the Pilanesberg Orphans. Rescued from an indiscriminate Kruger National Park culling, the young males in this instance ended up killing Rhinos and attacking tourists, because they had no role models (no adult, experienced males) as patriarchs.

Torn from their families to be inserted into a life of forced captivity, the three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants have no access to any normal surroundings mimicking Nature; they live isolated, unnatural lives, without any enrichment and without the support and love from a normal Elephant family.

The South African Constitution makes provision for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This court application highlights the chasm between the interpretation of the law, and the physical situation that the Elephants are enduring.

Stephen Fritz, Senior Chief of the South Peninsula Customary Khoisan Council, said the legal remedy is being sought to have the elephants released to live out the remainder of their lives in a natural environment.

“Leading global Elephant experts have attested to the fact that Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are highly intelligent, socially complex and sentient beings who are living in conditions that are averse to their well-being, and are as a result in a state of distress.

“The conditions offered by the Johannesburg Zoo do not meet their fundamental physical, mental and emotional needs.”

Fritz said imprisoning the elephants showcases the past and the present will humiliate and disrespect South Africa’s culture and heritage. 

“For many years I have felt ashamed and powerless: I am, therefore, relieved that a large number of experts and scientists have united, bringing together a wealth of knowledge to offer these Elephants a powerful defence. “

In his affidavit, Fritz argues that the manner in which the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo confine and exhibit the elephants is offensive to the culture and living heritage of the Khoi peoples, and undermines the recovery and perpetuation of their living heritage.

“Despite repeated representations and requests to release the elephants from captivity at the Johannesburg Zoo, the officials have failed or refused to do so.”

Fritz said the applicants are requesting that the court release the elephants into the care of the EMS Foundation, which will appoint relevant and qualified experts to assess the elephants and manage their relocation, rehabilitation and reintegration into a wild environment.

Both Lammie and her previous partner, Kinkel, who died at the zoo, have been injured after falling into the moat. In 2001, Lammie fell in and was reported to have “both right legs stiff” and broke her tusk, but survived. Kinkel fell into the moat in 2007 but was apparently uninjured. He died at the zoo in September last year after a long-term history of chronic colic and eating sand. He was 35 years old.

LAMMIE ON THE EDGE OF THE MOAT THAT HE FELL INTO AND INJURED HERSELF

Following Kinkel’s death, Joburg Zoo stated that the elephant enclosure would be enlarged. However, no such improvements have been made.

To this day, no renovations have been implemented and Ramadiba and Mopane were added to the same small and inadequate enclosure that Lammie has endured for 39 years. Furthermore, the new elephants, though of captive origin, were in a free contact system and were able to roam the confines of their previous home. Now, they will be imprisoned in a half hectare enclosure and have to face new challenges such as the moat.

“This is a sad day for elephants, yet another two elephants are unnecessarily been subjected to a life of imprisonment due to the lack of ethical management choices made by Joburg Zoo.” said Brett Mitchell, Director of Elephant Reintegration Trust.

Humane Society International/Africa is urging South Africans to show their disapproval by refusing to visit Johannesburg Zoo and to support elephant conservation projects that only portray elephants in the wild by protecting their habitats and protecting them from the threats of poaching and exploitation.

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The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

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Bhogeshwara, Asia’s ‘Longest-Tusked’ Elephant Dies Of Natural Causes.

RIP BHOGESHWARA

The Elephant was a major attraction for tourists at the Kabini backwaters. The 60-year-old Elephant was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The Elephant was named Bhogeshwar by the forest department officers and tribals after he was often sighted near Bhogeshwar camp, where a temple and an anti-poaching camp are located. “Many tourists would be delighted and pleased on catching a glimpse of him, even if they were not able to sight a Tiger in Kabini. The tusker has also featured in several wildlife documentaries and films made by the department and some private organizations,” said a forest department official.

Bhogeshwara, reportedly the Elephant with the longest tusks in Asia, died of natural causes at the age of 60, according to officials. The wild Elephant, also known as Mr Kabini, was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday. The officials believe that he died three or four days ago.

According to forest department officials, Bhogeshwar’s tusks were 2.54 meters and 2.34 meters long.

Known for his gentle temperament, the Elephant frequented the Kabini backwaters for the last three decades. Wildlife enthusiasts who observed Bhogeshwara say that his calmness and long tusks used to attract the tourists at Kabini.

The director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Kumar, said: “The field staff found the carcass. We did not find any injury marks and the tusks were intact. Usually as they age, Elephants cannot eat properly due to the wearing of their teeth. The tusks were removed and carcass was left for the natural decomposition and scavengers to feed on,” he said.

FIELD STAFF WITH THE BODY OF BHOGESHWARA

The forest department in April came out with a notification that the carcass of the wild animals will not be incinerated or buried since they are an important source of energy and nutrients for predators and scavengers. The new rule, however, does not apply to tigers.

Meanwhile, tributes poured on social media for Bhogeshwara .

Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations make it all possible. Thank you for your support.

A Viral Video Of An Elephant Doing A Headstand Leaves The Internet Angry. Here’s Why!

A video of an Elephant doing a headstand has gone viral online and triggered a discussion about animal cruelty.

The video shows Elephant standing on its head, like he’s doing a headstand.

A video circulating on social media shows an Elephant in a circus-like pose while taking a bath. But the viral video has angered social media users.

The video has been shared by Morissa Schwartz on Twitter with the caption, “I didn’t know Elephants could do this.” It has received over 380k views and has had more than 200 comments mostly expressing the belief that cruel training has been used to train the Elephant to ‘perform’.

Meanwhile, in the video, it could be heard crowd of spectators gasping and cheering at the view. After watching this act by the Elephant, angry viewers took to the comment section to express their outrage. Many of them even claimed that the headstand was not real and the big creature was trained for doing so. People also said that there are chances that the animal was unethically trained to do it to entertain the crowd. The video has spread outrage on the internet.

Here are a just a few of the comments it garnered:

It is very essential for us to understand that these animals go through a lot of fear and pain in making such moves. The humans train them and brutally torture these animals to make them do these poses.

ELEPHANTS ARE BEATEN INTO SUBMISSION FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE

But we, the citizens, can create a groundswell of changes and instil compassion in the hearts of cruel human beings while creating a safe world for Elephants. If you’re genuinely hurt and angered by the atrocities against Elephants, here are nine things you can do right now:

1. Scratch off Elephant rides from your bucket list.

2. Boycott festivals that exploit Elephants and perpetuate cruelty

3. Do not visit zoos, circuses, or any entertainment that involves Elephants or any animals for that matter.

4. Educate yourself and influence your immediate circle of family and friends, creating ripples of change. Gods in Shackles is a great educational aid that exposes the dark truth behind captivity.

6. Write letters and petitions to your elected officials.

7. Remember to vote – you have the power to vote them out.

8. Share this story and help create awareness.

9. Write a science-based review on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.

What you can do to help wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations help make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Be Aware Of The Dark Truth Behind Guruvayur Elephant ‘Sanctuary’ In India

A CHAINED ELEPHANT IN GURUVAYUR CAPTIVE ELEPHANT ‘SANCTUARY’

By Sangita Iyer, Author, Gods In Shackles. Founder, Voice For Asian Elephants Society

MADHAVAN, A POPULAR BULL ELEPHANT, TRIES TO BREAK THE CHAINS.

“Fifteen Hundred captives were cooped up in a shed built to accommodate probably 200 at the most. We were cold and hungry and there was not enough room for everyone to squat on the bare ground, let alone to lie down. One five-ounce piece of bread was our only food in four days.”

A holocaust survivor, Dr. Viktor Frankl, painstakingly chronicles this horrific scene at the Auschwitz extermination camp in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning“. He recalls the Nazis captured approximately 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, forced them to travel by train for several days and nights, then stuffed them into a tiny room, with nine prisoners sharing a bunker and two sheets.

A similar concentration camp for Elephants exists in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where 45 captives are crammed into 12 acres of land. They are tethered beneath the scorching sun at 45°C, languishing in their urine and excrement, and deprived of their basic primordial needs. Most of them were illegally captured wild Elephants from the north-eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Bihar, and sold to the Kerala Elephant owners during the annual “Sonpur Mela” festival that takes place every November.

BULL ELEPHANTS IN THEIR MUSTH ARE TETHERED NEXT TO EACH OTHER.

This is the world’s most notorious Elephant prison, called “Punnathur Kotta,” aka the “Guruvayur Captive Elephant Sanctuary.” It is adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Guruvayur Temple. Tourists from around the world travel here, many having been led to believe that the Elephants at this concentration camp are happy and well cared for. They are oblivious to the dark truth behind the shackled Elephants and their weaving motions.

Although many reviews on TripAdvisor from local people glorify this “sanctuary,” the most recent post in November 2021 affords a one-star rating by a U.K. visitor. Entitled “Nothing but a prison for distressed Elephants,” it paints the harsh realities that Elephants suffer.

“Elephants are constantly chained, many by front and back legs simultaneously. Many are chained so tightly they can hardly move, others constantly rock and sway due to stress. Terrible to witness in the 21st century.”

In the wild, Elephants wander across vast areas for hours on end, grazing on a wide variety of berries, barks, roots, leaves, fruits, grass, and even soil to obtain mineral supplements from the earth. They need to keep moving to balance their massive bodies. Socializing is a must for their sanity. Elephants also keep themselves busy, making tools and devising strategies when confronted by enemies.

A BULL ELEPHANT IN HIS PEAK MATING PERIOD IS THOUGHTFUL AND GENTLE

Females socialize, with a wise matriarch leading her family, and fiercely protecting the young. In contrast, bulls form bachelor groups and join a female herd only during their annual musth cycle – peak mating period. During this time, their testosterone and energy levels surge. They are overwhelmed by the urge to mate. The bulls secrete musth fluid from their temporal glands, emitting a potent smell to attract females. It triggers the instinct to fight off the bulls. They deplete their surging energies by mating, fighting, and covering extensive distances.

At the Guruvayur concentration camp, however, the bulls are denied food, water, and shelter, so their energies will be depleted. Worse still, many Elephants come into their musth cycle around the same time. The musth odour is even stronger as the bulls are tethered right next to each other. It’s hard to resist the urge to fight the neighbouring bulls. Frustrated, these prisoners pull their chains that cut into their flesh, causing bloodied and swollen ankles.

THIS BULL ELEPHANT STRUGGLES TO COPE WITH THE BLISTERING SUN
THIS BULL ELEPHANT STRUGGLES TO REACH THE FILTHY TANK WITH LITTLE WATER

Out of sheer desperation, many bulls have attacked their handlers, only for the torture to be intensified. One Kerala veterinarian alleges that the handlers toss rocks on the bulls’ genitals to inflict maximum pain in the most sensitive areas of their body and control them.

But the cruellest of all rituals awaits these bulls after their musth cycle. A group of 10 to 15 drunken men will beat the living daylight out of the bulls. This brutal practice is called “Katti Adikkal,” which means “tied and beaten.” It is driven by a misguided myth that Elephants may have forgotten their commands during the musth cycle.

It’s also common practice to control every movement with a long pole stuck behind the bull’s ear, enforcing the so-called “freeze” position. If the bull moves too much, the pole will fall, and he will be punished. The atrocities meted out against Kerala Elephants, including this prison, are exposed in Gods in Shackles.

FRUSTRATED, THIS BULL TOSSES A CLUMP OF MUD AT ME. PHOTO CREDIT: SANGITA IYER

With every single natural behaviour suppressed, Elephants are under chronic stress, displayed by swaying side to side, bobbing their head up and down, and even biting their trunk and trying to break the chains.

Dr. Jessica Bell Rizzolo, a trans-species psychologist and wildlife crime expert, explains in an interview with me that these symptoms are caused by years of abuse and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depravation of agency is among the critical factors that hinder brain development and exacerbate PTSD.

“So, if that Elephant is unable to make basic decisions about his or her life, who to mate with, when to have social interactions with another Elephant, how long to stay with the mother, that could really impact the right brain development.”

An Elephant brain is three times as large as the human brain, with a highly evolved cerebral cortex. Dr. Bob Jacobs and his team have released shocking scientific research detailing the devastating consequences of unnatural and depleted environments on Elephants’ brain structure and functions. Key points from “Putative neural consequences of captivity for Elephants and cetaceans” include:

1. The impoverished nature of the captive environment has detrimental consequences for the brain, including degeneration of nerve cells in the cerebral cortex, which is involved in higher cognitive functions.

2. An unnatural environment leads to chronically elevated levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which has a wide-ranging negative impact on brain structures and functions, including inflammation of brain tissue and the death of nerve cells.

3. One effect of chronically elevated stress hormones is the intricate, normally well-balanced interaction of key regions of the brain – the prefrontal cortex (planning), the hippocampus (spatial learning), and the amygdala (emotional processing) – becomes dysregulated (i.e., unbalanced). In both human and non-human animals, such disruptions in the delicate communication among these regions are associated with mental disorders such as PTSD, hyper-aggression, increased vigilance, and/or depression.

4. The chronic stress that characterizes impoverished environments disturbs neurotransmitter (chemical) systems, resulting in poor communication among different brain structures and cellular networks. For instance, because of changes in the release of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex, aberrant environments decrease an animal’s ability to cope with the stress of captivity.

5. Impoverishment and the accompanying chronic stress can potentially suppress the immune system. For example, the endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is prevalent among immunocompromised captive Asian Elephants.

In the wild, it is normal for Elephants to occasionally encounter predators such as humans and other carnivores, which triggers a brief increase in stress hormone levels. However, once the threat disappears, the hormones return to a normal level, allowing the body and brain functions to resume their natural state.

But in this concentration camp, Elephants are under chronic stress. Despite obeying the commands of the handlers, the Elephants are constantly whacked with vicious bullhooks and poked with long poles as a constant reminder that their masters are in control.

One video of a helpless Elephant being chained and beaten ruthlessly by a group of men, as hundreds of others simply watched this heinous brutality, went viral on social media. This bull had killed his handler, and apparently, the men were teaching him a lesson – never to mess with them.

The prisoners at the Auschwitz camp suffered a similar fate: “Beatings occurred on the slightest provocation, sometimes for no reason at all… We heard the lashings of the straps and screams of the tortured men. At such a moment it is not the physical pain which hurts the most, it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all… The most painful part of beatings is the insults which they imply.”

Is it even conceivable that the bull who was being beaten in front of hundreds of people felt the insults and shame? Many neuroscience and psychology studies on Elephants reveal that Elephants are highly intelligent and emotional animals. They display empathy not only towards their own kind but also other species.

It has also been demonstrated that Elephants have their own culture, and they observe rituals, for instance, a grieving ritual, when they encounter the skeletal remains of other Elephants. They pass social information through generations. They have strong social bonds. So, by capturing Elephants randomly and separating them from their herd, their culture becomes fragmented.

The Guruvayur concentration camp Elephants conceal layers upon layers of trauma… and with no escape from the ongoing brutality and unpredictability, they seem to have just given up on life. Dr. Rizzolo says, “The trauma is such that the sense of self is impaired. That Elephant doesn’t even have a sense of themself in relation to themselves and in relation to other Elephants in relation to their herd… “If that normative social structure is ruptured on a larger scale. You see results of that just as you see in human cultures that have experienced trauma after trauma.”

At the Auschwitz concentration camp, Dr. Frankl observed similar dysfunctional behaviours: “Apathy, the blunting of the emotions and the feeling that one could not care anymore, with the symptoms arising during the second stage of the prisoner’s psychological reactions, and which eventually made him insensitive to daily and hourly beatings.” (Pg. 23)

Knowing these psychological, emotional, and mental traumas caused by captivity, is it then moral or ethical to confine these sentient animals for human entertainment? The cultural and religious lobby groups will turn a blind eye and continue to justify their actions.

But we, the citizens, can create a groundswell of changes and instil compassion in the hearts of cruel human beings while creating a safe world for Elephants. If you’re genuinely hurt and angered by the atrocities against Elephants, here are nine things you can do right now:

1. Scratch off Elephant rides from your bucket list.

2. Boycott festivals that exploit Elephants and perpetuate cruelty.

3. Do not visit zoos, circuses, or any entertainment that involves Elephants or any animals for that matter.

4. Educate yourself and influence your immediate circle of family and friends, creating ripples of change. Gods in Shackles is a great educational aid that exposes the dark truth behind captivity.

5. Speak out and expose the cruelties. All of us have cell phones and have access to an abundance of social media platforms.

6. Write letters and petitions to your elected officials.

7. Remember to vote – you have the power to vote them out.

8. Share this story and help create awareness.

9. Write a science-based review on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.

Complacency and apathy have no place in an era confronting the sixth mass extinction. Asian Elephants are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. With only 40,000 of them left on the entire planet and 27,000 of them in India, we need to do everything in our power to protect them in their last bastion. Only collectively can we end the suffering of Elephants and foster compassion towards these majestic animals.

Please Sign The Petition : Stop Elephant Captivity in Kerala Temples

GODS IN SHACKLES WITH AUTHOR SANGITA IYER
AN EXCELLENT FOREWORD BY DR JANE GOODALL

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That’s My Girl With The Gorilla… But She’s Totally Safe, Says Father Who Released A 20-Year-Old Home Video To Show How ‘Gentle, Noble And Wonderful’ Gorillas Are

Many will be deeply moved by the sight of a toddler beating her chest with tiny fists while a 300lb Gorilla lounges alongside her, eating a kiwi fruit. They will laugh as the two toss straw over their heads and gasp when one of the world’s largest primates leans forward to give the little girl a tender peck on the cheek.

Others, however, will be horrified. More than once, the Gorilla gathers the girl in her arms, carrying her off as she would one of her young. The bond between the playmates is unmistakable despite the the grainy VHS footage being more than 20 years old.

Dressed in navy jumper and light blue trousers, 18-month-old Tansy Aspinall romps in the sunshine, one minute swaying on a rope swing, the next tumbling down the slide, tummy first, her not-so-little friend behind her. Not-so-little being the operative phrase. For Tansy’s playground is, in fact, an animal pen at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent and her chums are Western Lowland Gorillas.

Scroll down to see the video of Tansy Aspinall and the Gorilla for yourself…

Controversial parenting: A photo taken in 1990,before the video was filmed, that shows Tansy Aspinall in the arms of an adult gorilla at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent

Controversial parenting? A photo taken in 1990, before the video was filmed, shows Tansy Aspinall in the arms of an adult gorilla at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent

Her father, Damian, released the family film via The Mail on Sunday and made it available on YouTube. It is a controversial decision and Damian, was prepared for criticism but remains unrepentant.

‘This is a family video,’ he says. ‘Before I wouldn’t have released it but now, with the internet it is different. I don’t care if I get a bit of stick because I think the gorillas get a good deal out of it. There’s an upside for them that there wasn’t before. If we can show millions of people how gentle and noble and wonderful these animals are, then I think we’re doing the Gorillas a service. I’m happy to take the stick for that.’

Tansy, now 33, agrees. She says: ‘I obviously understand that people might find it quite shocking seeing a baby going in with the Gorillas because that’s how they have been brought up – to see Gorillas in that King Kong kind of way. But really gorillas are such wonderful, gentle animals and they’re so human-like. So I hope it’s a way of people understanding how gentle and kind Gorillas really are.’

She was too young to remember the video taken at Howletts, the Palladian mansion that her grandfather, the gambler John Aspinall, bought after a particularly good night at the tables.

Laughing or crying? Video clip of 18-month-old Tansy Aspinall playing alone with one of Dad's gorillas

Laughing or crying? Video clip of 18-month-old Tansy Aspinall playing alone with one of Dad’s Gorillas

No fear: The toddler was filmed 19 years ago by Damian and has been kept secret because of some fears that it might have provoked a backlash from childcare experts because of the risk

No fear: The toddler was filmed 19 years ago by Damian and has been kept secret because of some fears that it might have provoked a backlash from childcare experts because of the risk

Gorilla-hug: The young girl is smothered by the 300lb adult

GORILLA-HUG: TANSY IS SMOTHERED BY THE 300LB POWERFUL ADULT

Aspinall filled the house and grounds with animals, including Tigers, Wolves and Gorillas. He also brought the pets he had kept in his previous home in London’s Eaton Square including  a Leopard, a Himalayan Bear and a Capuchin Monkey. In time, the animals were moved outdoors and Howletts became a wildlife park.

On John’s death in 2000, Damian took control and set up the Aspinall Foundation, a conservation initiative to return captive-bred animals into the wild. His foundation has now bred more captive animals – and reintroduced them into the wild – than any other organisation in Europe. There have been 139 Gorilla births, 33 Black Rhinos and 20 African Elephants. The animals are released into reserves in Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the foundation has approximately a million acres of guarded land.

Contrary to popular belief, this is no rich man’s hobby. True, Damian is wealthy thanks to the chain of casinos he set up with media mogul Kerry Packer’s son James – but it is all self-made money. His father refused to help him financially, and at the time of his death, Howletts was running at a loss of millions.

Gorilla-loving father Damian Aspinall, 52, with his daughter Tansy Aspinall (now 23)

GORILLA-LOVING DAMIAN ASPINALL WITH HIS DAUGHTER TANSY

John Aspinall was the owner of Howletts and grandfather to Tansy Aspinall

JOHN ASPINALL WAS THE OWNER OF HOWLETTS AND GRANDFATHER TO TANSY ASPINALL

Damian has not only ensured its survival but turned it into a truly groundbreaking conservation project. Tansy also wants to play a part in the foundation’s work – mainly, she says, because of her childhood experiences.

‘I don’t really remember that specific moment with the gorillas but I do remember playing with them,’ says Tansy, who has just completed a degree in politics at Bristol University and is ‘on the job hunt’. 

‘I don’t have any of the fear of Gorillas that people normally have. I just feel love and warmth. Of all the  animals, Gorillas are my favourite. And that’s because they were always something I went in with as a child. I remember them being so gentle –  they almost treated me as if I was one of their own little babies.’

AMBAM THE GORILLA SHOWS HOW HE CAN WALK LIKE A HUMAN

Of course, there are dangers. During his adolescence Robin Birley, Lady Annabel Goldsmith’s society club-owning son, was mauled by a Tiger at Howletts. In 1980, a Tigress called Zeya was shot after killing two keepers, and in 1994 the park’s head keeper was killed when a two-year-old Siberian Tiger pounced on him.

And in 1989 a two-year-old boy had his arm ripped off by a Chimp after he reached into a cage to stroke it at another Aspinall park in Kent, Port Lympne. There is no record of a Gorilla ever killing a human.

Damian says: ‘I wouldn’t put my children or daughters in with an adult Tiger or a Lion regardless of the relationship – but Gorillas are different.’ Even so, times have changed, something Damian accepts. Tansy and her younger sister, Clary, 20, are Damian’s daughters with his first wife, Louise Sebag-Montefiore. The couple divorced in 1997. Both girls were allowed to play with the Gorillas but Freya, his eight-year-old daughter by his former partner, Donna Air, was not. He says: ‘I gave an interview when Freya was young and they said, “Would you take Freya in with the Gorillas?” I said, “Yes, sure.” There was uproar. The police called and said if you do this we’re going to have to come and interview you and social services called and said, “We might take your child if you do this.” The usual absolute nonsense.’

Still, he’s teaching her Tiger speak and Gorilla gurgles. He’s serious. ‘I can speak Wild Boar,’ he says. ‘When you wake up in the morning, open the bedroom door and two Tigers jump in your bed, you’re in serious trouble if you don’t know good morning in Tiger-speak.’

Damian’s earliest memory is of playing roly-poly on the lawn with Wolves and rolling over a wasps’ nest. ‘I was about eight and was with my sister,’ he recalls. ‘The swarm came out and they chased us and the Wolves, biting and stinging us everywhere. Even the Wolves screamed.

‘One of the animal people grabbed me, my sister and the Wolves and shoved us underwater at a trough. I remember opening my eyes under the water and a wolf and I just looked at each other terrified. My fear was never of the animals – but I’ve been wary of Wasps ever since.’

Damian Aspinall has put the film on the internet to show the amazing bond that can be formed between Gorillas and humans.

He said: ‘It’s a thing of great beauty in my life. It’s priceless. It’s a very deep connection and when you know that and see that, you will know what I mean.

‘That’s why I released the video. If seeing Tansy does a little bit more to reinforce the belief that there is a place for Gorillas on this planet, then people can say whatever they like.’

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Watch Forest Officials Rescue A Baby Elephant Stuck In A Muddy Ditch With The Help Of A JCB: Video

THE BABY ELEPHANT GETS A HELPING PUSH UP FROM A JCB

One lucky little Elephant has captured the hearts of people across the internet after it was rescued from a mud pit in the Southern India state of Karnataka.

A video of the rescue operation staged by state forest officials has charmed netizens, as it also shows what some people say was an appreciative gesture from the Elephant, who turned to address the crane that helped to dig it out.

THE BABY ELEPHANT BEING RESCUED FROM A DEEP PIT BY A JCB

The incident took place in Siddapura Village in Coorg district of Karnataka, reported Indian Express.

A good Samaritan recorded and shared the clip, which has been viewed over one million times on Twitter alone. The beginning of the video shows the Elephant struggling to climb up and out of a slippery mud put. Each time it tries, it slips back down the hole’s steep walls. Eventually, an excavator machine pulls in and begins to dig mud out from around the Elephant.

THE ELEPHANT KEPT SLIDING BACK INTO THE PIT

Bystanders can be heard cheering as the arm of the JBC crane reaches behind the Elephant and gives it a gentle push, giving it the boost it needs to finally get its feet back on solid ground.

The lumbering animal then turns back around to face its rescuers, bumping its head and tusk to the machine’s bucket in what some are viewing as a sign of appreciation. Onlookers can be heard cheering loudly as it does, then officials set off a small firecracker to encourage the Elephant to leave the area and return to the forest.

Sudha Ramen, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Tamilnadu Forest Department shared the video from her Twitter account. She told Newsweek, “Elephants are mostly human-friendly until they get aggressive stimulated by human behaviour or have some hormonal imbalances. They are known to recognize the aid received when they are in need.”

Even though this behaviour can be observed in subadult and adult Elephants, young ones are not as human-friendly or expressive.

She added that when such rescues happen in a crowded environment, the animal is usually in panic mode and may get aggressive because of human presence or too much noise.

“But in this situation not many outsiders were present. Still, I do not say that the animal returned a gesture in this case. It may be an exhibit of stress too,” Ramen told Newsweek, addressing the belief shared by many that the head bump was ‘thank you’ in the Elephant language.

Her tweet with the video has been viewed more than a million times. She credited the video to Indian actor Satish Shah who initially shared it on his Twitter page.

SUDHA RAMEN, DEPUTY CONSERVATOR OF FORESTS, TAMILNADU FOREST DEPARTMENT SHARED THE VIDEO FROM HER TWITTER ACCOUNT.

The usage of machinery such as a JBC depends upon the terrain, the animal involved in the rescue, and other safety factors, according to Ramen. The vehicle often comes in handy as many of its features make it able to handle slushy, slippery ground, and many rescue operations are carried out in the forest or nearby in areas that are usually non-motorable larger vehicles.

“Such operations are done only in the presence of the forest officials and vet doctors, so the driver gets guided by them,” Ramen told Newsweek.

“This made my day 1,000 times. Kudos to the construction crew and operator. And Mr. Elephant is the classiest mammal I’ve ever seen,” commented one user.

While many appreciated the machine operator’s work, some also questioned the use of smoke crackers in the end.

“It seems the Elephant was actually very grateful to the JCB for helping her/him by doing a head bump with it. Instead of busting smoke to scare it away, we could be gentler next time by keeping some food nearby so that they can replenish and get busy without charging at anyone,” wrote another.

THE RESCUED ELEPHANT APPEARS TO THANK THE JCB

However, the rescue team is always advised to carry the smokers along for safety reasons, Ramen told Newsweek, saying it is not necessarily standard practice to use them but they are commonly deployed when herds venture into villages or human habitations.

“It is used on occasions to direct the animal back into the forest and also to protect the nearby people if the animal tries to attack them,” she said.

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It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Ringling Bros Circus Returns – But Without Animals!

The iconic circus is set for a comeback after closing in 2017. But this time, it will focus on human feats and stories, and so sparing animals from having to perform.

RINGLING BROS CIRCUS RETURNS – BUT WITHOUT ANIMALS

The so-called “Greatest Show on Earth” is set to make a comeback, as the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announce its return to the stage. 

The Ringling Bros circus stopped its 146 year-run back in 2017, after falling ticket sales and a long history of criticism and legal challenges by animal rights groups who condemned the circus’s use of animals. 

Now, the show’s big return – set to begin with a huge 50-city tour next year – will for the first time be free of animals, and instead focus on human feats and narrative story lines. 

“Ringling has always evolved: Logically, in order to be successful for 146 years, you constantly have to change,” Kenneth Feld, the chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment, which purchased the circus in 1967, told The New York Times.

Ringling’s controversial use of animals had faced constant negative attention, with the circus forcing animals such as elephants, lions, and tigers to perform tricks, endure lengthy journeys across the country, and suffer many incidents of alleged animal abuse. 

Undercover investigations repeatedly revealed the miserable lives of the animals, including the Ringling Elephants who spent most of their long lives either in chains or on trains, under constant threat of the bullhook, or ankus—the menacing tool used to control elephants.

AN ELEPHANT BEING ‘TRAINED’ TO PERFORM BY TRAINERS WITH BULLHOOKS

As calls for better treatment towards animals have continued to grow over the years, Ringling’s latest iteration will reflect modern attitudes and instead focus on inspiring and exciting human performers. The circus has already begun worldwide auditions for performers in countries including Ethiopia, Mongolia, and the US, with the 50-city tour scheduled to begin on Sept. 28, 2023. 

Animal rights campaigners are among those welcoming the return of Ringling’s circus. 

“Feld’s decision to bring the circus back without animals sends a very clear message to the industry that the circus can dazzle audiences with willing human performers and that no animal needs to be exploited,” said Rachel Mathews, a director from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation, told the Times.

“What people see in the circus is a display of human dominance,” Mathews added. “The fact is the public doesn’t want to see that anymore.”

In 2009, PETA conducted a hidden-camera investigation into the treatment of Ringling’s elephants. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered Feld Entertainment, the circus’s parent company, to pay a $270,000 penalty to settle violations of the Animal Welfare Act for its treatment of performing animals.

Criticism of animal acts in the circus dates back to at least 1920s, when the Ringling circus, facing pushback from a growing animal rights movement, removed Lions and Tigers for about a decade, according to Greg Parkinson, the former executive director of Circus World Museum, in the Ringling family’s hometown, Baraboo, Wis. (The Sea Lion and Elephant performances stayed on.)

As Ringling Bros. announces an animal-free comeback tour after a five-year hiatus, PETA is offering it the group’s web domain Circuses.com, which was previously used to expose the abuse of animals used in its circus.

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South Africa’s Ivory Delusion. Why Selling Ivory Stockpiles To China Will NOT Stop The Illegal Ivory Trade

The values of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s ivory stockpiles have been grossly overstated, and their proposed sale would lead to another poaching epidemic.

In 2020 the world reacted in shock when Namibia announced plans to auction off 170 live Elephants to the highest bidder.

Despite criticism, the plans have continued to move forward — and that may just be the start. Tucked away in a press release justifying the auction was a rehash of the country’s oft-repeated desire to also sell ivory. The Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s stated:

“Namibia has major stockpiles of valuable wildlife products including ivory which it can produce sustainably and regulate properly, and which if traded internationally could support our Elephant conservation and management for decades to come.”

Namibia is not alone in this desire to capitalize on its wildlife. In Zimbabwe’s national assembly last year, the minister of environment valued the country’s stockpile of 130 metric tonnes (143 tons) of ivory and 5 tonnes (5.5 tons) of rhino horn at $600 million in U.S. dollars. This figure, which would value ivory at more than $4,200 per kilogram, has since been seized upon by commentators seeking to justify the reintroduction of the ivory trade.

Charan Saunders is an environmental accountant dedicated to ethical conservation, so she wanted to understand these numbers and how they motivate countries. In truth, she found not even full black-market value comes close to arriving at this figure.

Black-market values are, of course, often invisible to the general public, but the most recent data from criminal justice experts finds that unworked (or raw) Elephant ivory sells for about $92/kg on the black market in Africa, while rhino horn is currently selling for $8,683/kg.

Therefore, a more realistic valuation of Zimbabwe’s ivory stockpiles, using an optimistic wholesale price of $150/kg, would give a potential income of only $19.5 million in U.S. dollars.

This is a 30th of Zimbabwe’s estimate.

And even then, those numbers fail to account for the disaster that would happen if ivory sales return — as we saw in the all-too-recent past.

The One-Off Sales

SEIZED ILLEGAL IVORY

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, following a 10-year period in which African Elephant numbers declined by 50%, from 1.3 million to 600,000. However, in 1999 and 2008 CITES allowed “one-off sales” of stockpiled ivory, to disastrous effect. The selling prices achieved then were only $100/kg and $157/kg, in U.S. dollars respectively, due to collusion by official Chinese and Japanese buyers.

The intention of CITES in approving the one-off ivory sales was to introduce a controlled and steady supply of stockpiled ivory into the market. The legal supply, coupled with effective systems of control, aimed to satisfy demand and reduce prices. This in turn should have reduced the profitability of (and the demand for) illegal ivory. Poaching should have followed suit and decreased.

Instead, the sales led to an increase in demand and, consequently, an increase in Elephant poaching. The 2008 ivory sale was accompanied by a 66% increase in illegally traded ivory and a 71% increase in ivory smuggling. An investigation in 2010 by the Environmental Investigation Agency documented that 90% of the ivory being sold in China came from illegal sources.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comparison of Elephant poaching figures for the five years preceding and five years following the sale showed an “abrupt, significant, permanent, robust and geographically widespread increase” in poaching.

The problem has not faded away. Most recently the two African Elephant species (savanna and forest) were declared endangered and critically endangered due to their continued poaching threat.

ZIMBABWE ELEPHANTS

Still, some African nations look fondly at the 2008 sale and have long hoped to repeat it. The Zimbabwe Ministry’s 2020 statement follows yet another proposal to the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (COP18) by Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana to trade in live Elephants and their body parts, including ivory. The proposal was not accepted by the parties.

Why Didn’t Ivory Sales Work?

The one-off sales of ivory removed the stigma associated with its purchase, stimulated the market demand, and increased prices.

The ivory that China purchased in 2008 for $157/kg was drip-fed by the authorities to traders at prices ranging between $800 and $1,500 per kilogram. This meant that the bulk of the profits went to filling Chinese government coffers — not to African nations — and in doing so, created a large illegal market which drove prices even higher.

Raw ivory prices in China increased from $750/kg in 2010 to $2,100/kg in 2014. The market had been stimulated, prices increased and the volume of legal ivory available was insufficient to meet demand as the Chinese government gradually fed its stockpile into the market.

Japan, the other participant in the one-off sales, has systematically failed to comply with CITES regulations, meaning that there were (and still are) no controls over ivory being sold, allowing the illegal markets to function in parallel to the legal one.

In a very short space of time, criminals ramped up poaching and Elephant numbers plummeted.

What Has Happened to the Price of Ivory Since Then?

With no recent legal international sales, combined with the significant U.S., Chinese and United Kingdom domestic ivory sales bans, the price for raw ivory paid by craftsmen in China fell from $2,100/kg in 2014 to $730/kg in 2017. That’s when China closed all its official ivory carving outlets and theoretically stopped all official ivory trade.

The price currently paid for raw ivory in Asia, according to an investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission, is currently between $597/kg and $689/kg, in U.S. dollars. Ivory sourced in Africa and sold in Asia has additional costs such as transportation, taxes and broker commissions. The prices paid for raw ivory in Africa have decreased correspondingly from $208/kg to $92/kg in 2020.

Those numbers pale in comparison to a living Elephant. A 2014 study found that live Elephants are each worth an estimated $1.6 million in ecotourism opportunities.

Funding Conservation

One half-truth is that the money earned from the legal sale will be used to effectively fund conservation.

One of the CITES conditions of the 2008 sale was that funds were to go to the conservation of Elephants. South Africa placed a substantial portion of the income from its share of the pie in the Mpumalanga Problem Animal Fund — which, it turns out, was well-named. An internal investigation found the fund had “no proper controls” and that “tens of millions” of rand (the official currency of South Africa) had bypassed the normal procurement processes.

Ironically, proceeds were also partly used for the refurbishment of the Skukuza abattoir, where most of the 14,629 Elephant carcasses from culling operations between 1967 and 1997 were processed.

All the while, Africa’s Elephant populations continued to decline.

How to Stop Poaching

In light of these deficiencies — and in light of Elephants’ recently declared endangered status — the very reverse of actual conservation can be expected if any nation is again allowed to sell its ivory stockpiles. The cost of increased anti-poaching efforts required from the consequent increase in poaching will outweigh the benefit of any income from the sale of ivory stockpiles.

To stop poaching, all international and local trade must be stopped.

Repeating this failed experiment will send a message that it is acceptable to trade in ivory. Ivory carving outlets in China will re-open and demand for ivory will be stimulated. The demand for ivory in an increasingly wealthy and better-connected Asia will quickly outstrip legal supply and poaching will increase.

Meanwhile, the management of a legal ivory trade requires strong systems of control at every point in the commodity chain to ensure that illegal ivory is not laundered into the legal market. With recalcitrant Japan continuing to ignore CITES, “untransparent” Namibia “losing tolerance” with CITES, and Zimbabwe ranking 157 out of 179 on the corruption perceptions index, not even the basics for controlled trade are in place.

Therefore, aside from the strong theoretical economic arguments against renewed one-off sales, the practical arguments are perhaps even stronger: If international ivory and rhino horn sales ever again become legal, the cost to protect Elephants will skyrocket and these culturally valuable animals will plunge into decline — and possibly extinction.

About the author: Charan Saunders grew up in Cape Town and studied genetics and microbiology and then went on to qualify as a chartered accountant. She has worked in London in the forensic science field and was the chief financial officer of a major vaccine manufacturer for six years. She now serves as a financial director in the field of conservation.

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Asian Elephant Mom Carries Dead Calf For Weeks, New Eye-Opening Videos Reveal

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead.

Female Elephants are very protective of their calves, and when youngsters die, some mothers continue carrying their babies’ corpses. 

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead, sometimes even carrying their lost infants in their trunks for days or weeks, new research finds. 

Whether Elephants  understand death in the same way humans do is unknown — and probably unknowable. But Asian Elephants are social creatures, and the new research adds to the evidence that they experience some sort of emotional response when they lose one of their own.

“Understanding Elephants’ response to death might have some far reaching effects on their conservation,” study co-authors Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and Nachiketha Sharma of the  Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, wrote to Live Science in an email. “We have personally observed that when people witness an elephant responding to a dead kin, there will be some sense of relatedness, compassion and empathy towards the species. Therefore, anything which instantly connects people might pave the way for coexistence in elephant ranging countries.” 

Death ritual

African bush Elephants have long been observed reacting emotionally when a herd member dies. They might approach the body and touch it with their trunks, kick at the corpse or stand nearby as if on guard. Asian Elephants, however, are less well-understood. They tend to live in forested habitat, so they are harder to observe in the wild than savanna-dwelling African elephants.

“They can be 100 feet [30 meters] away from you, and you might not see them because the forest is so dense,” said Brian Aucone, the senior vice president for life sciences at the Denver Zoo, who was not involved in the new study. .

To get around this, Pokharel, Sharma, and their co-author Raman Sukumar, all of the Indian Institute of Science at the time, turned to YouTube, where remarkable animal videos are a staple. They searched the site for keywords related to Asian Elephants and death, and uncovered 39 videos of 24 cases between 2010 and 2021 in which one or more Asian Elephants were seen reacting to the loss of a herd mate. Eighty percent of the videos showed wild Elephants, 16% captive Elephants and 4% semi-captive Elephants (typically, semi-captive Elephants are animals that work in the timber industry or in tourist parks in Asia).

Some of the most striking behaviors seen in the videos occurred when a calf died. In five of the 12 videos showing a deceased calf, a female adult — likely the mother — was seen carrying the calf. Based on the state of decomposition of the corpse, it appeared that this carrying behavior went on for days or weeks.

Indian Forest Service ranger Parveen Kaswan uploaded one such video in 2019, showing an Asian Elephant dragging the body of a calf across a road in what he likened to a “funeral procession” in a post on Twitter at the time.

“I think they’re holding on and trying to grasp what has happened, and there’s something happening there with their interaction with their offspring, just like it would be with us,” Aucone said of the behavior.

Other commonEelephant reactions seen in the videos included restlessness or alertness when near the corpse; exploratory movements such as approaching or investigating the body; or touching and smelling. Elephants communicate through scent, Aucone said, so the sniffing is not surprising. In 10 cases, the elephants tried to lift, nudge or shake the body, as if to attempt to revive their lost comrade. In 22 cases, they seemed to stand vigil over the body.

AN ELEPHANT STROKING THE DEAD BODY WITH HIS TRUNK AS OTHERS STAND GUARD

“We’ve seen some of this before ourselves,” Aucone told Live Science. When the zoo euthanizes older Elephants due to illness or infirmity, the staff give herd mates a chance to say goodbye, Aucone said. The survivors often sniff the deceased Elephant or lay their trunks by its mouth, a social behavior.

Animal grief

Elephants aren’t the only social creatures that react to death, especially to the death of babies. Orca mothers have been observed pushing their dead calves around, as have dolphins. In 2018, an orca female named Tahlequah off the coast of Washington held on to her lost baby for 17 days. Other female orcas were seen huddled around Tahlequah and her dead newborn in the hours after the baby’s death in what looked like a circle of grief. Ape and monkey mothers sometimes carry around dead infants for weeks or months.

TAHLEQUAH PUSHED THE BODY OF HER DEAD BABY FOR 17 DAYS

In the case of the Elephants, which are devoted to caring for their young, the mother-calf bond is fundamental, Pokharel, Sharma and Sukumar wrote in the study, published Wednesday (May 18) in the journal Royal Society Open Science(opens in new tab). This is true of primates, as well, Pokharel and Sharma told Live Science.

“[T]he mother-calf/infant bonding in both Elephants and primates have some striking similarities as both nurture their young until they become strong enough to forage and defend themselves,” they wrote. “Therefore, this long lasting bond between mothers and calves/infants may potentially motivate mothers to respond towards their unresponsive calves. It is very difficult to predict the exact causations and functionality behind the dead infants carrying. But, some of the YouTube videos certainly provide evidence that some species may have some sense of death awareness.”

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PREGNANT ELEPHANT FOUND DEAD WITH ‘BLOOD COMING OUT OF ITS MOUTH AND ANUS’

THE PREGNANT SUMATRAN ELEPHANT IS SEEN LYING ON THE GROUND AT A PALM PLANTATION IN BENGKALIS, RIAU PROVINCE (PICTURE: EPA)

A critically endangered Elephant and its unborn baby were found dead in western Indonesia after a suspected poisoning.

Disturbing photographs show the animal with blood coming out of its mouth on the island of Sumatra.

Local authorities are now investigating the death of the pregnant Elephant, which was due to soon give birth.

Its corpse was discovered during a joint patrol by conservation groups on Wednesday.

Conservationists suspect the incident may be linked to the palm oil industry, which they say consider the animals a pest.

‘From the sign of changes in the shape of its internal organs, such as the lung, it looks like it is burning, black and oozing from the blood,’ said Zulhusni Syukri, programme director of Rimba Satwa Foundation, one of the groups that found the dead animal.

THE CARCASS OF A DEAD SUMATRAN ELEPHANT AND ITS UNBORN BABY IN BENGKALIS

Rimba Satwa strongly suspect the animal was poisoned as pineapple was found in its stomach, even though the tropical fruit does not grow in that area.

There are already fewer than 700 Sumatran Elephants remaining on the island.

According to Indonesian forestry and environment ministry, the number has gone down from 1,300 in 2014 to 693 last year.

This is why the species is protected under an Indonesian law on the conservation of biological natural resources and their ecosystems.

The decline has occurred amid a loss of more than 69% of the animal’s potential habitat in the last 25 years, the equivalent of one generation.

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