July 13th, 2010 by Nicole Meyer
IDA has two new “Breaking News” items featured on www.HelpElephants.com that just by chance have a common thread (besides the fact they’re about elephants), and that’s the African nation of Zimbabwe.
We reported on an elephant named Nosey, who was traumatically torn from her family and shipped to the U.S. before she was even two years old – an age at which elephant babies are still nursing and enjoying the love and protection of their mother and herd. Nosey instead was sold into the circus, where she lost everything natural to an elephant: family, room to freely roam, companionship and freedom of choice. Since 1988, Nosey has endured a life of hardship and abuse, forced to give performances and rides with trainer Hugo Liebel and the Florida State Family Circus. (Though sometimes the circus and Nosey travel under different names.) Despite the fact that elephants are highly social and require the company of other elephants, Nosey has been held alone for 22 years.
IDA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, detailing the abuse and negligent treatment to which Nosey has been subjected for more than two decades and called on the agency to confiscate her now. Read IDA’s letter to the USDA here. While it appears that the agency is more closely monitoring Nosey’s situation, historically it has waited far too long to remove elephants who are in dire condition and suffering greatly. Our question is: How much more “monitoring” will it take to persuade the USDA that Nosey’s lengthy history of neglect and abuse will continue only as long as they allow it? You can take for action for Nosey by clicking here. You’ll find an easy click ‘n’ send letter directed at the USDA.
On a happier note, we have a great victory to report. Two elephant calves from Zimbabwe have avoided a captive fate and will remain in their native country. The government has called off a wildlife sale that would have sent two wild-caught, 18-month-old elephants, as well as giraffe, zebra, hyena, monkeys and birds, to a zoo in North Korea.
We are told that the majority of the captured animals have been released back into the wild through the efforts of wildlife groups in Zimbabwe, with the support of the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. The two young elephants cannot be released immediately but will be integrated into a herd of other rescued elephants at the Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust and later released into the wild.
While many people were angered by news of the sale, it appears that the government’s intentions were to raise badly needed funds to cut critical fire-breaks in Hwange National Park, where many of the animals were caught. Reportedly, the Zimbabwean government does not intend to undertake another similar capture.
This blog may focus on elephants but I wanted to share a warm story about two young hyena who had been caught for the sale to North Korea. Though they had been confined for two weeks in a holding boma, their parents stayed near, calling for them. When it came time to free them, the youngsters were released directly into Hwange National Park and back to their waiting parents. While hyena may not appear as “warm and fuzzy” to people as baby elephants or other animals, this story shows the depth and importance of family ties to a range of species – and how easily man can destroy those relationships.
Please be sure to thank Zimbabwe’s prime minister for stopping the export and urge him to permanently ban the capture of wild for captivity. Get more information here and send your thank-you by clicking here.