(2007) African Elephant Status Report 2007: an update from the African Elephant Database. Occasional

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1 October26,2015 We,theundersignedscientists,conservationists,elephantcare,animalwelfareandpolicy experts,arestronglyopposedtotheproposedimportof18elephantsfromswazilandbythe DallasZooinTexas,HenryDoorlyZooinOmaha,Nebraska,andtheSedgwickCountyZooin Wichita,Kansas,forthefollowingreasons: 1. The capture and removal of wild elephants for display in zoos is detrimental to elephants. The forcible capture and removal of wild elephants from their home ranges and social groupsisarchaicandunethical.elephantsdonotthriveinzoos.mostfailtobreed,andan astonishingnumberofzooobornelephantcalvesdieyoung.theoverallinfantmortalityrate forelephantsinzoosisastaggering40percent nearlytripletherateoffreerangingasian andafricanelephants. 1 Thosewhoreachadulthoodoftendisplaybehavioralabnormalities anddieofdiseasesanddisabilitiescausedbycaptiveconditions,suchasarthritisandfoot disease. Published research shows that bringing elephants into zoos profoundly impacts theirhealthandviability. 2.Thereisnoevidencetoshowthatseriouseffortshavebeenmadetokeeptheelephants inafrica. TheKingdomofSwazilandandtheDallasZooanditspartnershaveofferednoevidencethat they have seriously explored options for relocation of the elephants to other parks or sanctuarieswithinafrica,noronwhatbasisotheroptionswererejected eventhoughin siturelocationoffersrealconservationvalue,thepromiseofminimalharmanddistressto the elephants, and the prospect of a natural life. Claims that poaching, habitat loss, and other threats justify relegating these elephants to a lifetime in captivity in a foreign environmentareselfoserving;usedtojustifythecaptureandexportsoftheseanimals. 3.Threatstokillthe18elephantsunlesspermitsareissuedareunethicalandrepresent outdatedwildlifemanagementpractices. Cullingasanapproachtothemanagementofelephantshasbeenabandonedorputonhold inallcountriesinsouthernafricafortwodecades.abanwasinstitutedinsouthafricain 1995,andalthoughthebanwasliftedinprinciplein2008,ithasneverbeenresumed,under thestrengthofpublicopinion.other,nonolethalmanagementalternatives,includingwater pointmanagement,corridorcreationandtranslocationarenowacceptedasbestpractice. ForSwazilandtokillelephantsithasdecidedaresurpluswouldbeareturntopracticesnow considered outmoded by modern wildlife managers. Sadly, the zoos are leveraging these threatstofacilitateimportoftheelephantstotheunitedstates. 4. The rationale behind the import tocreatemoreroomforrhinos ishighly questionable. The "elephant range" in Swaziland consists mainly of two small fenced enclosures 2 comprising6%and19%oftwofencedreserveshlaneroyalnationalparkat142km 2 and 1 Saragusty, J., Hermes, R., Göritz, F., Schmitt, D.L., & Hildebrandt, T.B.2009) Skewed birth sex ratio and premature mortality in elephants. Animal Reproduction Science, 115: Blanc, J.J., Barnes, R.F.W., Craig, G.C., Dublin, H.T., Thouless, C.R., Douglas-Hamilton, I., & Hart, J.A. 2007) African Elephant Status Report 2007: an update from the African Elephant Database. Occasional

2 Mkhaya Game Reserve at 65km 2 ). These enclosures contain the country s populations of elephants,numbering19and13respectivelyin Essentially,theSwazilandelephants, whichwereintroducedasorphansfromcullsinkrugernationalpark,southafrica,between 1986and1994 4,arekeptasatouristattractionandsymbolofnationalprestige.Since&the& elephants&and&their&localized&impact&on&vegetation&are&confined&to&small&areas,&it&is&incorrect& to&claim&that&they&pose&any&significant&threat&to&other&wildlife,&which&range&more&widely&in& the&major&portions&of&the&reserves.there&is&no&information&publicly&available&on&the&numbers& of& rhinos& in& the& fenced& elephant& areas,& nor& any& documentation& of& supposed& habitat& competition. 5. Zoosare capturing and importing wild elephants to restock a dwindling zoo elephant inventory,nottoconservethespecies. Despiteproofofthesystemicfailuresofzoopracticesandpoliciesaffectingelephants,the zooindustryhasbecomemoreresoluteinseekingoutnationsabroadfromwhichtoplunder elephants to restock zoo exhibits. This practice is an unacceptable consequence of the unnaturalconditionsprovidedbyzoos,andshouldnotbeallowedtocontinue. This importation serves no credible conservation purpose. None of the elephants or their offspring will be returned to the wild, the gold standard of conservation. Instead, it is intendedtoreplenishthezooindustry sdwindlingafricanelephantpopulationintheu.s. Even if the zoos involved in the import would be successful in breeding the captured elephants,itstillwouldnotcontributetotheconservationofthespecies.theviewofthe IUCNSSCSpecialistGroupforAfricanelephants 5,6 isthatcaptivebreedingmakesnoeffective contribution to conservation, and the group does not endorse the removal of African elephantsfromthewildforanycaptiveuse.neitheroftheiucnreddatalistentriesfor AsianorAfricanelephantslistscaptivebreedingasnecessaryconservationmeasures. 6. The proposed import perpetuates poor conservation practices in Swaziland and promotespoorqualitypracticesinotherrangestates. In2003,SanDiegoWildAnimalParkinCaliforniaandLowryParkZooinFloridapurchased11 elephantsfromthekingdomofswaziland.swazilandclaimedithadtoomanyelephants,and unlessthesalewentforwardthese11elephantswouldbeslaughtered.swazilandandthe zoospromisedthatthemoneypaidfortheanimalswouldbeusedtoimprovethecountry s elephantconservationpracticesandpolicies.despitethisexport,andwithatotalnational populationof35orfewerelephants, 7 Swazilandofficialsareagainclaimingthecountryhas toomanyelephantsandtheyareagainthreateningtokillelephantsiftheproposedsaleto Paper Series of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, No. 33. IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, vi+276pp. 3 Southern_Africa/Swaziland Statement and resolutions on the role of captive facilities in in situ African elephant conservation, IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group 6 Statement from the African Elephant Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission on the removal of African elephants for captive use, IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group. 7 Elephant Database, Provisional African Elephant Population Estimates: update to 31 Dec ern_africa/swaziland

3 DallasZooanditspartnersisthwarted. Theproposedkillingofelephantstomaintainsmallnumbersinequallysmallcompoundsin Swazilandisnotsoundconservation,norisexportingthemfordisplayinzoos.Itispossible thatthe2003transaction,approvedbytheu.s.fish&wildlifeservice,createdanincentive forswazilandtopersistinitspoorconservationapproach. We are also gravely concerned that sales of elephants, cloaked as conservation, wildlife management, or as rescues, could encourage other countries to engage in this practice. WehavealreadyseenoneAssociationofZoosandAquariumsAZA)accreditedzooattempt to disguise its purchase of African elephants from Namibia as a rescue, only to have the import exposed as a commercial transaction.8 This fabrication was never publicly condemnedbytheaza. 7. A rhino program in Swaziland does not justify the harm caused to the elephants by beingcapturedandexportedtozoos. As noted in point 4 above, there is no evidence that rhinos are threatened by elephant habitatchangeinswaziland.however,theprincipleofconservinganotherspecies,evenif threatened by elephants numbers, does not justify unconscionable conduct that includes tearingyoungelephantsawayfromtheirmothersandsocialgroupsandincarceratingthem fortherestoftheirlives.contrarytothezoos callouscontentionthattheendsjustifythe means, we believe both endangered species deserve the best, most humane solution available. 8.Theimportisabusinesstransaction. Thezoosinvolvedintheproposedimporthaveinvestedmorethan$25millioninelephant exhibits and now they need elephants to fill them, despite the dire consequences for the elephants in question. Even a small percentage of those millions could make a significant andpositivecontributiontowardtheprotectionofafricanelephantsintheirhomeranges. That the investment has already been made cannot at the same time be used as an argumentforlettinganunacceptablepracticegoforward. Conclusion In summary, the proposed importation has no single redeeming virtue. Certainly, this proposal will not provide any conservation benefit in the U.S. or Swaziland. The zoo industry s tired claim that commercial exhibition of elephants inspires Americans to take conservation action remains unproven and objectively unmeasured. And, for the 18 elephantstargetedforimportation,itisnoexaggerationto concludethattheyfaceasad, uncertainfuture. Elephantsarehighlyintelligent,sensitive,andsocial.Thattheysufferincaptivityisbeyond seriousdebate.weshouldalwaysstriveforthebest,mosthumanealternativefortheircare andsurvival.forthe Swazi18 thismeans,ataminimum,remainingonthecontinentof theirbirthinconditionsofsafetyandgreatestpracticalfreedom.webelievenothinglessis acceptable.wecallonthekingdomofswazilandandthezoosinvolvedintheimporttodo 8 Namibia: No orphan elephants exported to Mexico. June 11,

4 whatisinthebestinterestsoftheseelephantsandrelocatethemtoaprotectedparkorsanctuaryin Africa. Signed, EveLawinoAbe,PhD,IndependentWildlifeBiologist RosemaryAlles,CoOfounder,MarchforElephantsOSanFrancisco;CoreStrategist,TheGlobalMarchfor ElephantsandRhinos RobAtkinson,PhD,FormerCEO,TheElephantSanctuaryinTennessee PatriciaAwori,PanAfricanWildlifeConservationNetwork MarkBekoff,PhD,UniversityofColorado,Boulder,EcologyandEvolutionaryBiology ScottBlais,ChiefExecutiveOfficer,GlobalSanctuaryforElephants RobBrandford,ExecutiveDirector,TheDavidSheldrickWildlifeTrust CarolBuckley,FounderandPresident,ElephantAidInternational BrianBusta,SanctuaryandElephantManager,PAWSARK2000 DavidB.Casselman,JD,FounderandDirector,ElephantsinCrisisandtheCambodiaWildlifeSanctuary ChristinaColissimo,Filmmaker,One&Lucky&Elephant,&Ivory&Wars JanCreamer,President,AnimalDefendersInternational MarkDeeble,WildlifeFilmmakerTheElephantMovie) AudreyDelsink,PhDCandidate,ElephantScientist MonaGeorgeDill,President,EastCaribbeanCoalitionforEnvironmentalAwarenessECCEA) AndyDobson,Professor,PopulationBiologistandEcologist,PrincetonUniversityandSantaFeInstitute JamieRappaportClark,PresidentandCEO,DefendersofWildlife CatherineDoyle,MS,DirectorofScience,ResearchandAdvocacy,PerformingAnimalWelfareSociety ChrisDraper,ProgrammesManagerCaptiveWildAnimals/Science),BornFreeFoundation PhilipK.Ensley,DVM,Dipl.ACZM,FormerAssociateVeterinarian,ZoologicalSocietyofSanDiego VickiFishlock,ResidentScientist,AmboseliTrustforElephantsKenya) JohnFreeze,FormerElephantHusbandrySupervisor,NorthCarolinaZoologicalPark DanielaFreyer,ProWildlife ToniFrohoff,PhD,ElephantScientist,InDefenseofAnimals FrancisGarrard,Director,ConservationActionTrust SofieGoetghebeur,CoOfounder,ElephantHaven,EuropeanElephantSanctuary JohnW.Grandy,PhD,ExecutiveDirector,PegasusFoundation PetterGranli,CoOdirector,ElephantVoices MelissaGroo,ElephantResearcherandConservationist DavidHancocks,FormerZooDirector,UnitedStatesandAustralia MichelleHenley,PhD,ElephantsAlive DaleJamieson,ProfessorofEnvironmentalStudies,NewYorkUniversity

5 Dr.TrevorJones,Director,SouthernTanzaniaElephantProgramSTEP) PaulaKahumbu,PhD,ChiefExecutiveOfficer,WildlifeDirectKenya) LisaKane,JD MichaelKennedy,CampaignDirector,HumaneSocietyInternationalAustralia) WinnieKiiru,PhD,WildlifeBiologist,ConservationKenya MichaelKorchinsky,CEOandFounder,WildlifeWorks RobLaidlaw,CharteredBiologist,Zoocheck Phyllis C. Lee, PhD, Director of Science, Amboseli Trust for Elephants Kenya), and Professor of Psychology,BehaviourandEvolutionResearchGroup,UniversityofStirling KeithLindsay,Member,ScientificAdvisoryCommittee,AmboseliElephantResearchProjectKenya) LoriMarino,PhD,ExecutiveDirector,TheKimmelaCenterforAnimalAdvocacy MarleneMcCay,Chairperson,ElephantsAlive Dr.GrahamMcCulloch,Director,TheEcoexistProjectBotswana) MarcelleMeredith,CEO,NationalCouncilofSPCAsSouthAfrica) FionaMiles,CountryManager,FOURPAWSSouthAfrica SusanMillward,ExecutiveDirector,AnimalWelfareInstitute LindsayMorgan,Director,ILeftMyHeartinKenya CynthiaMoss,Director,AmboseliElephantResearchProjectKenya) CarneyAnneNasser,LegislativeCounsel,AnimalLegalDefenseFund Dr.KatarzynaNowak,ResearchFellow,DurhamUniversityUK)andUniversityoftheFreeStateRSA) EllenC.O Connell,ExecutiveDirector,TuskUSA MichaelO Sullivan,ChairmanandCEO,TheHumaneSocietyofCanada KrystalParks,MA,FoundingDirector,PachydermPower!LoveinActionforElephants BobPoole,PresenterandWildlifeCinematographer JoycePoole,PhD,CoOdirector,ElephantVoices IanRedmond,OBE,IndependentWildlifeBiologist,Founder,TheAfricanEleOFund RichardG.Rhoda,PhD,BoardChair,TheElephantSanctuaryinTennessee CarterRies,CoOFounder,OneMoreGeneration JimRies,President,OneMoreGeneration OliviaRies,CoOFounder,OneMoreGeneration AdamRoberts,ChiefExecutiveOfficer,BornFreeFoundation JillRobinsonMBE,Drmedvethc,HonLLD,FounderandCEO,AnimalsAsiaFoundation JohnnyRodrigues,Chairman,ZimbabweConservationTaskForce KaoriSakamoto,VoiceforZooAnimals,Japan JenSamuel,FounderandPresident,ElephantsDC JulieSherman,ExecutiveDirector,WildlifeImpact

6 EdStewart,President,PerformingAnimalWelfareSociety VictoriaStone,WildlifeFilmmakerTheElephantMovie) PeterStroud,FormerZooDirector,ZoologicalConsultant,MemberAsianElephantSpecialistGroup AnneKentTaylor,AnneK.TaylorFund SarahUhlemann,InternationalProgramDirector,CenterforBiologicalDiversity WillTravers,OBE,President,BornFreeFoundation TonyVerhulst,CoOfounder,ElephantHaven,EuropeanElephantSanctuary StephenWells,ExecutiveDirector,AnimalLegalDefenseFund EllenWindemuth,ChiefExecutiveOfficer,OfftheFence KirstenWimberger,PhD,Zoologist StevenWise,Esq.,President,NonhumanRightsProject JulieWoodyer,CampaignsDirector,Zoocheck JaniceZeitlin,ChiefExecutiveOfficer,TheElephantSanctuaryinTennessee

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