• Don Lichterman

55 Elephants Die Daily, Bronx Zoo, Jasmine, CITES & 28,801 Signatures in the Elephant in the Room!

The Toast For Tusks, a Brunch to Save Elephants is this week on October 20th while 55 wild elephants are dying every day in Africa!

Network for Animals is fighting for the very survival of wild elephants in Africa. They are being wiped out by rapacious poaching that is claiming the lives of 55 elephants every day.

Elephants are highly intelligent sentient beings who love their families, just as we love ours. Elephants are being wiped from the face of the earth and we need your help to save them. We are up against the might of corrupt governments, the evil of ivory poaching, and the twisted egos of trophy hunters. We can’t do this alone; we desperately need your help.

A century ago there were somewhere around FIVE MILLION elephants in Africa. Sadly, there are less than half a million elephants left. One elephant dies every 26 minutes.

But, thanks to our supporters, we are finding ways to give elephants hope.

Let me tell you the story of Tembe and his vital mission. Tembe is a rarity, a male elephant with really big tusks. Elephants in South Africa’s Addo National Park don’t have big tusks, because of trophy hunting that occurred more than a century ago, the gene to make tusks was lost. Not having tusks is very bad for elephants, it’s like not having hands for humans – they use them for all sorts of tasks.

Tembe lived close to the South African border where poachers operate. So, we, with South African National Parks (SANparks), moved him a thousand miles (1,600 kilometres) south to Addo, where he will not be a target of poachers. He was also given a mission: go forth and multiply. If Tembe does his work, then soon Addo’s elephants will be back to normal, proud tusk-wearing giants. The good news is that, overnight, Tembe acquired four admirers.

Helping Addo elephants to grow tusks again is just one example of our work. We finance anti-poaching patrols, provide vital equipment and work with the government organization SAN parks to expand and protect wilderness areas so elephants and other animals can thrive.

Every day our team is asked to do more to help elephants before it is too late, and with your donation, we will. Without you and animal lovers like you, the battle becomes harder. The situation for elephants is really very bad. Please help elephants today.

28,801 Signatures Collected because riddled with 70 bullet holes, a Borneo pygmy elephant’s mangled corpse was discovered in the Sabah region of Malaysia. Poachers had taken his tusks—and his life–for profit.

Fishermen found the deceased animal’s body floating in a murky, brown river. His attackers showed him no dignity even in death; they had tied his lifeless body to a tree.

It is impossible to say how long this innocent creature suffered as the perpetrators of this cruel act shot him over and over, including once through the head.

This tragedy is made worse by the fact that Borneo pygmy elephants are endangered. With only 1,500 left in the wild, the death of even one of these precious animals is a severe loss for the entire species.

Endangered wildlife should be protected from harm, not cruelly victimized for money.

Authorities have arrested six plantation workers thought to be responsible, and the investigation is ongoing.  

Sign the petition to urge the Malaysian Ambassador to the U.S. to pursue a full investigation and prosecution of this heinous crime. We must ensure that this elephant gets the justice they deserves.

Bronx Zoo elephant Happy gets court win ahead of her biggest trial

The news got just a little happier for an elephant who has been kept in captivity in the Bronx Zoo for four decades.

Happy, a female Asian elephant, is one of the "clients" of a US not-for-profit organisation called the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP).

Happy the elephant in her enclosure at the Bronx Zoo in New York.

She has lived in an enclosure measuring roughly one acre (0.4 of a hectare) for more than 40 years, the last 13 of which she has spent alone.

The animal-rights organisation is seeking to have the courts in the US recognise that certain animals, which have complex cognitive abilities, should be entitled to basic legal rights.

In October last year, the NhRP filed a habeas corpus petition on Happy's behalf in the New York Supreme Court, Orleans County, seeking recognition of her personhood and right to liberty and her release to an accredited sanctuary. This was the first such hearing on behalf of an elephant in legal history, the organisation says.

Happy's case was transferred to the Bronx Supreme Court where it is next due for a hearing on October 21.

Happy in her enclosure at the Bronx Zoo in New York.

However, lawyers for the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the Bronx Zoo, refused to agree that the zoo would not move Happy from New York State before the upcoming hearing.

NhRP then sought an order in the Bronx Supreme Court preventing the zoo from moving Happy out of New York before that hearing.

The NhRP said that removing Happy from New York would strip the New York courts of jurisdiction and prevent the organisation from obtaining its requested habeas corpus order requiring Happy's release to an elephant sanctuary.

"We don't know why the Bronx Zoo is now refusing to agree not to move Happy," Kevin Schneider, executive director of the NhRP and the attorney who argued for the order, said.

"What's clear is that, unless Happy is released to a sanctuary, any move the Bronx Zoo makes will serve only the Bronx Zoo's interests, not hers.

"The primary question Justice Tuitt had for the Bronx Zoo was: what is the harm in granting this order? The Bronx Zoo didn't have a good answer.

"We look forward to discussing the harm caused by Happy's imprisonment itself at our client's next hearing."

At the October 21 hearing, the NhRP will argue another series of procedural motions as well as the core merits of Happy's habeas corpus petition.

Where animals are treated as "things", not "persons", and have no rights - for example, the right to be free - it opens the way for them to be misused and abused more easily than if they were treated as a "legal person".

Happy is believed to have been born in the wild in Thailand in 1971.

She and six other calves were captured and sold in the US to a succession of safari parks, circuses and zoos. They were named after the dwarfs in Snow White.

In 1977, Happy and Grumpy were sent to the Bronx Zoo to be part of a newly created monorail exhibit (then called the Bengali Express Monorail). Through the 1980s, the zoo compelled the elephants to give rides to, and perform tricks for, the public.

In 2002, Grumpy was put down after she was attacked by two other elephants kept at the zoo.

In 2005, she became the first elephant to recognise herself in a mirror, which is considered to be an indicator of self-awareness, the NhRP said.

The NhRP said in a petition to the court: "Respondent's imprisonment of Happy deprives her of her ability to exercise her autonomy in meaningful ways, including the freedom to choose where to go, what to do, and with whom to be."

The lawsuit is supported by elephant experts, including Joyce Poole, who wrote in New York's Daily News that "the Bronx Zoo's exhibit is too small to meet the needs of Happy or any elephant".

Dr Poole, who has studied elephants for more than 40 years in Africa, recommended that Happy be released to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee or the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California, where she can have the freedom to mingle with other elephants.

Dr Poole disputes claims by Bronx Zoo director Jim Breheny that Happy does not get on with other elephants and that she must remain where she is for her own good.

The case is also supported by celebrities such as Queen guitarist Brian May, elected officials such as New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson, and animal advocates in New York and around the world.

A Change.org petition for Happy's release from solitary confinement has more than a million signatures.

Meanwhile, Happy's ordeal drags on in a lonely Bronx enclosure and through the labyrinthine US justice system.

In a city that is always flooded with people, it is hard to imagine that there would be enough space for a large mammal such as an Asian elephant. Yet Delhi has had a special history with captive elephants that were used for myriad cultural activities within the city. Today, with the rescue of the last captive elephant of Delhi Jasmine (formerly Lakshmi) on the 18th of September, 2019, Delhi finally moved past its elephant exploitative history and has emerged as an example for other cities and states to follow.

In a city which is not a suitable habitat for elephants, Jasmine suffered silently every day. Navigating through the jam-packed roads of Delhi, even as the noise from the traffic caused her mental stress, was a part of this helpless pachyderm’s daily routine for she had to earn big bucks for her owners. Gracing events and ceremonies, giving joyrides to people and begging on the streets was her designated ‘occupation.’

Rather than being seen as the sentient being that she is, Jasmine’s owner hardly thought of her more than as a way of earning money. This was evident from the despicable conditions that she was forced to live in: the banks of the infamously polluted river Yamuna were her home, where she would eat and bathe every day.

Relief from her stressful life seemed afar, until orders from the Delhi High Court to rehabilitate the remaining seven elephants of Delhi came in this year.

The offender’s family created a mass hysteria to prevent Jasmine’s seizure.

It was ordered that Jasmine would be rehabilitated at Ch. Surinder Singh Elephant Rehabilitation Centre (ERC) in Ban Santour, Yamunanagar run by the Haryana Forest Department in collaboration with Wildlife SOS. Permissions to move Jasmine to ERC were set in place during the first week of July, when the Delhi Forest Department moved quickly to seize her from her captors.

However, the attempt to bring her the much-needed relief took a different turn when a scuffle broke out between the forest officials and her owners, who resisted the seizure and stooped to attack the officials.

Post the incident, the owners ran away with Jasmine and took her into hiding to evade the seizure. She was declared a missing elephant. It seemed as if fate was playing a cruel joke on Jasmine: the promise of a new life was so close and yet still so far.

Additional police reinforcements were needed to ensure the safety of the elephant and the rescuers.

An alert was issued to all forest departments to report the missing elephant. The search went on for nearly two months until a suspicious sighting of Jasmine with her keeper was reported by the Delhi Police to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of Delhi-NCT, Mr Prabhat Tyagi.

The Delhi Police immediately detained the absconding keeper and the seized the elephant at Shakarpur Police Station in East Delhi. Upon request by the Forest Department, Wildlife SOS quickly despatched a team of four trained elephant handlers and an elephant veterinarian from the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre, Mathura to come to the aid Forest Department to help move Jasmine to ERC, as had been planned for months.

The vehicle was packed with fruits and vegetables for the 200km long journey.

However, one obstacle after another kept cropping as Jasmine awaited a kinder future. After feeding her some sugarcane and fruits, the team began to move her to safety. Much to everyone’s shock the offender’s family had different plans. They gathered a hostile mob and created a mass hysteria to prevent the team from loading the elephant onto the truck.

Ultimately additional police reinforcements were sent by DCP (Est) Jasmeet Singh and SHO Shakarpur Sanjeev Kumar to handle the delicate situation and provide safety to the rescuers. Jasmine was then moved to Delhi Forest Department’s office at ITO, Delhi, where she was given ample time to settle down, water to drink and sugarcane to eat.

Once the team was sure that Jasmine was at ease, she was loaded onto the ten-wheeler truck to take her to her new home at the lush forests of Ban Santour. The truck was packed with bananas, cabbage, sugarcane and spinach for the nine-hour journey that was ahead of her.

The truck and convoy vehicle moments before undertaking the journey to Ban Santour.

With every kilometre covered under the blanket of night, Jasmine was a step closer towards a kinder future. Throughout the 200km journey, she remained extremely calm and cooperative. Jasmine arrived at ERC at the wee hours of morning and a new chapter started in her life. She received the best surprise of her life and immediately took to the surrounding green forests. In fact, before even eating the snacks awaiting her, Jasmine began plucking leaves from the bamboo shoots near her shed, indicating that she had already taken to her new surroundings.

Jasmine exploring her surroundings.

After giving her a thorough shower, our senior veterinarian Dr.Yaduraj conducted a preliminary medical assessment. It was found that she has overgrowing toenails and footpads, a condition common with captive elephants. Some of her toenails in the hind limbs were also cracked which require long-term medical care to prevent infection. Blood samples were also collected to get a diagnosis of her vitals. Our veterinary team will design a special treatment for Jasmine once the diagnosis is final. She will also be introduced to the existing herd at ERC comprising of Lilly, Daisy, Ella and Erika once she is out of quarantine.

Lady Fortune finally showered Jasmine with a comfortable life after her struggle of nearly four decades. We are honoured to be a part of her new journey and to give her the love and care that she deserves.

Jasmine’s rescue that lasted nearly fourteen-hours was a joint effort by the Delhi Forest Department, Haryana Forest Department, Delhi Police and Wildlife SOS. We would like to thank Chief Wildlife Warden (Delhi NCT) Mr Prabhat Tyagi, Wildlife Officer Dr K.S.Jayachandran, Wildlife Officer Dr K.S.Jayachandran, DCP (East) Jasmeet Singh, SHO Shakarpur Shri Sanjiv Kumar, Sr. Wildlife Inspector Mr R. R. Meena and Sr. Wildlife Inspector Mr V. B. Dasan, who made this rescue possible.

Watch Videos | Help Jasmine

PETITION UPDATE Re: Canada’s CITES Report Card The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition - OCT 9, 2019 —

Are you aware that the African elephant is under threat of extinction? Every year 20,000 elephants are killed illegally for their ivory. If the poaching rate continues, some subpopulations of elephants could be extinct in the wild in 10 years. In response to this crisis many countries including the UK, China, several states in the US, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium and Israel have either closed or are preparing to close their domestic elephant ivory trade. 

The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over $10 billion (USD) per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world. 

Elephanatics, World Elephant Day and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos - Toronto have been in contact with Minister McKenna’s office several times to ask why Canada, in spite of calls by CITES for all markets to close their domestic ivory trade, still hasn’t done so and in fact does nothing to support increased protection for elephants. Why is Canada an outlier when it comes to the protection of the world’s most iconic, keystone species? 

At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES CoP18) that took place August 17th to 28th, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, representatives from 183 member governments (including the EU) came together to set the rules for the international trade of wild plants and animals. 

There were five proposals for the regulation of elephant trade. This is how Minister Catherine McKenna’s deputies voted on these proposals at the conference. 

1. Proposal 44.2 - A near-total ban on removing baby African elephants listed in Appendix II from the wild and selling them to zoos around the world was approved. 

Canada voted NO to protecting wild baby elephants from export.

2. Proposal 10 - Zambia proposed to down-list its elephant population from Appendix I to II, thus paving the way to allow commercial trade in ivory. It failed to pass. 

Canada voted YES to decreasing the protection for Zambia’s elephants. 

3. A proposal to tighten protection for elephants by permanently eliminating all commercial international trade of the animals throughout Africa failed to pass. 

Canada voted NO to tightening the protection for elephants. 

4. Proposal 12 - Gabon and other countries proposed to up-list all African elephants to Appendix I, thereby affording them the greatest level of protection. It did not pass. 

Canada voted NO to affording greater protection for elephants. 

5. Proposal 11 - South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe brought forward the controversial proposal to re-open their ivory trade. It was voted down by 101 of the 183 treaty members. 

Canada’s vote was non-registered. 

There was also a proposal to increase the hunting trophy quota for the endangered black rhino in South Africa. Canada voted in favour of increasing the number of black rhinos that could be killed for trophies in South Africa. 

The Ivory-Free Canada petition is asking the government to close the domestic elephant ivory trade in Canada has garnered close to 500,000 signatures. It is clear Canadians don’t have an appetite for being complicit in the demise of one of the world’s most emotionally intelligent and sentient species. 

If you haven’t already, please sign the petition and send a pre-written email to your Canadian MP here expressing your concern. 

(We thank Kate Brooks, writer, producer and photographer The Last Animals documentary, for her support in our #IvoryFreeCanada campaign) 

The letters we wrote to Minister McKenna can be viewed at www.elephanatics.org

And, please join us in Washington D.C. on October 20th for a festive champagne brunch to help save elephants and other at-risk Indian wildlife.

Toast For Tusks, a Brunch to Save Elephants!

Meet Wildlife SOS founders, Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani, who will be coming in from India and sharing stories about the organization's new elephant hospital and other updates from their elephant, bear and leopard sanctuaries.

Guests will enjoy a delicious brunch buffet with a sweet and savory Toast Bar, coffee, juice, mimosas and more!

Date:  October 20 (Sunday)

Time:  11 AM- 1:30 PM Location:  Conrad Hotel DC Tickets:  $75 or $800 for VIP Table 

Don't miss out, get your tickets today!

We hope to see you there...The Wildlife SOS Team

Elephant in The Room

"Corporations Are People Too My Friends."
Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.  Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

Our companies are known for creating products that enhance people's lives.  Through Sunset Corporation of America and its companies, we’re equally dedicated to improving lives.   Our commitment extends to helping local communities, fostering better educational systems, supporting the arts and culture, helping disadvantaged youth, protecting and improving the environment, animal welfare, wildlife issues and encouraging employee volunteerism.

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