Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


International Protest Over Auckland Elephant Import


8 December 2010

International Protest Over Auckland Elephant Import

Prominent international zoologists and some of the worlds most respected elephant experts are appealing to the Auckland Council to rethink plans of importing a herd of elephants to Auckland Zoo.

The former Auckland City Council has approved a $13 million proposal to bring a number of Asian elephants into New Zealand. WSPA and SAFE, two of New Zealand’s leading animal advocacy organisations, say plans to import the first three elephants is already underway. The groups say they welcome the support of the international community of elephant experts.

Over twenty distinguished animal behavourists or international animal advocates have written to the Auckland Council to express their concerns. These include: Will Travers of Born Free Foundation, Dr Joyce Poole of Elephant Voices and Dr Peter Stroud, a zoological consultant, along with representatives of Amboseli Trust for Elephants, RSPCA, Elephant Aid International, In Defense of Animals, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Humane Society International.

“Leading biologist, Dr Joyce Poole, has spent nearly 30 years living amongst savanna elephants in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park studying their behaviour and methods of communication. Dr Poole’s has become a leading authority on elephant populations. Her objection alone should stand as sufficient weight for the Auckland Council to take this matter seriously. The fact we have the support of a further twenty experts is unprecedented and can not be dismissed,” says WSPA New Zealand manager Bridget Vercoe.

SAFE campaign director, Eliot Pryor, says the newly elected Auckland Council has an obligation to review the former councils decision to support this elephant import proposal in light of this new international testimony.

“Both WSPA and SAFE formally presented their concerns and objections to the former council in May 2009. The submission cited many studies, including that of the RSPCA and Humane Society International that demonstrated that captivity was highly detrimental to the welfare of elephants. It also dismissed arguments that Auckland Zoo would adequately contribute to an international elephant breeding or conservation programme. We are delighted that our concerns have been echoed by this team of experts,” says Mr Pryor.

Melbourne based, independent zoological consultant Peter Stroud has worked with many zoos to overcome problems associated with keeping elephants in captivity. He was disappointed to hear Auckland Zoo was planning to establish a breeding herd of elephants.

“No urban zoo can cater for the complex needs of elephants. Sound science tells us that elephants are social animals that spend their lives in and around families of closely related individuals, moving across vast areas. Family life cannot be created in a zoo and there is growing evidence that simply placing unrelated elephants together does not simulate natural social life,” said Dr Stroud. “Removing elephants from existing zoo programmes will neither assist the sustainability of zoo elephant populations nor assist the welfare of the elephants involved. Existing zoo populations of Asian elephants, internationally, are not self-sustaining because of a combination of insufficient genetic diversity and skewed age structure,” he says.

The letter has been sent to the councillors of Auckland Council as well as the Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Minister of Conservation.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Herd Immunity Isn’t A Valid Option, And What’s With Our Reluctance To Wear Masks?

Herd immunity has recently bounced back into the headlines as a tool for managing Covid-19, and as a supposed alternative to lockdowns. In the US, a group of scientists was recently brought together in the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts by a think tank funded by the Koch brothers. The assembled scientists signed the so called Barrington Declaration, which promotes herd immunity as a rational means of re-opening US public schools and the economy at large... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On National Being Shafted By Its Own Creation

As it licks its wounds, let’s hope the National Party can still find time to look back with some pride at what it has achieved in Epsom. The Act Party’s nationwide success on Saturday night has been a tribute to National’s foresight, and to its ... More>>


Green Party: 'Fruitful Discussions ... Further Discussions To Have'

The Green Party says there is a negotiation going on with the Labour Party, but there are more discussions to be had. More>>


Border: No Changes To Border Exemptions After Fishing Crew Test Covid-19 Positive

The cases were detected after routine day three testing but the immigration minister and air commodore agree there's no need to change border exemptions. More>>

PSA: Labour-Led Government Has Mandate For Transformation, Equality And Transparency

The Public Service Association welcomes the progressive electoral landslide New Zealand voters delivered on Saturday, and the union says its members look forward to implementing policies that reduce poverty and inequality, support affordable housing ... More>>


Stats NZ: New Report Shows Significant Changes To New Zealand’s Climate

Climate change is already happening in New Zealand and could have a profound impact on future generations of New Zealanders, a new report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ says. Our atmosphere and climate 2020 , released today, includes analysis ... More>>


Judith Collins: Obese People Must Take Responsibility For 'personal Choices'

National Party leader Judith Collins has described obesity as a weakness and says people should not 'blame systems for personal choices'. More>>

Māori Party: Poll Reveals Tamihere On Cusp Of Historic Māori Movement Election Victory

John Tamihere’s election campaign is on the rise and on track to return the Māori Party to parliament, a new Māori TV poll has revealed. The poll released on 11 October during the seventh and final Māori TV Maori Electoral campaign coverage has Tamihere ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Four-Year Terms Of Parliament, And On How The US Courts Are Dismantling Democracy

Last week, the issue of four-year parliamentary terms surfaced again. Infuriatingly, it is being discussed purely in terms of its convenience for political parties. They’d get so much more time to enact their policies, free of scrutiny or sanction by voters ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels