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eve
Dec 7th, 2005, 10:13 AM
An Australian Commonwealth tribunal has approved the importation of eight elephants to zoos in Sydney and Melbourne on a conditional basis. In July the federal Environment Minister approved an application by Sydney's Taronga Zoo and the Melbourne Zoo to import eight elephants from Thailand.

But the decision was challenged by a coalition of animal welfare groups. Those groups argued the importation would do nothing to help the conservation of the endangered species.

After several weeks of hearings, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has decided the importation is for the purpose of conservation breeding and should be allowed. However, it has asked the zoos to provide additional evidence of the conditions the elephants will be kept in before granting a final approval. Taronga Zoo director Guy Cooper says if all goes well, the elephants should be in Australia after Easter. "We're very pleased with the outcome - they have made the comment that they believe that the permits should be granted," he said.

At Melbourne zoo, the three females Asian will join two male and female elephants already housed at the Melbourne Zoo. Zoos Victoria chief executive, Laura Mumar, says she is confident that the tribunal's conditions will be met.

The Humane Society's Nicola Beynon says it would have preferred the importation to be stopped. But she says the tribunal's decision will mean better conditions for the elephants. "It's clear the tribunal is going to ensure that as a result of our court case, the living conditions for these elephants will be improved and will be better than it would have been if we hadn't brought this case," Ms Beynon said.

pat sommer
Dec 7th, 2005, 10:32 AM
Better than nothing believes the tribunal. My 4 year old and I watched the stereotypical swaying of an aging female elephant in her rather lifeless enclosure at Taronga. My sighs of dismay and explanation of her sad state to my daughter did catch the attention of camera clicking tourists who until then never thought about it. That's just it: how do we change anything when animals are there for us to snap picies?

Free_Tibet
Dec 7th, 2005, 11:24 AM
The 7.30 report (National ABC TV Australia) tonight aired a story regarding the law suit filed by animal rights groups in Australia regarding Taronga and Melbourne Zoo and the imported Thai elephants.

Unfortunately the 7.30 report did not mention any reasons why animal rights groups oppose elephants being in zoos.

Please add an entry to 7.30 Report guestbook using some of the points mentioned here: http://www2b.abc.net.au/730/letters/guestbook/ (http://www2b.abc.net.au/730/letters/guestbook/)

Sample letter:

Dear 7.30 Report,



I was disappointed with your report regarding the law suit filed by animal rights groups in Australia against Taronga Zoo & Melbourne zoo regarding introducing Thai elephants.

There was no explanation given on why animal rights groups object to elephants being held in zoos.

Elephants are highly complex, social animals who live in extended family groups and travel over thirty miles a day. Today's zoos are unable to meet the physical and social needs of elephants. These needs include space, adequate exercise, and extended social groups.

Elephants in zoos suffer from captivity-induced physical and psychological health problems due to lack of space. Health problems include debilitating foot and joint problems, arthritis, digestive disorders, stereotypic behaviors (neurotic behaviors resulting from severe confinement). Other problems include reproductive system shutdown, and high infant mortality rate.

As the largest land mammal, elephants are genetically designed to move and forage most of the day; this constant movement is necessary for their psychological and physical well-being.

Zoos routinely move elephants, and other animals, from one zoo to another with little to no consideration for their social bonds. In the wild female elephants never leave their mothers and male elephants have complex social structures with other bulls and females. No elephant in the wild lives in constant solitary confinement.

It would have been more balanced to mention some of these points in your story instead of presenting it as just a feel good story

eve
Dec 8th, 2005, 08:40 AM
I added a little msg.

Geoff
Dec 8th, 2005, 10:11 AM
I heard that the enclosure for the elephants is 2,500 sq. metres, which seems ridiculous. At that rate of stocking, I could keep 32 elephants in my yard! Even if it was 25,000 sq. metres it wouldn't be nearly big enough. :(