In Zoo News Digest 6th - 12th November 2009 (Zoo News 629) I covered the story about 'Elephants to be banished from all Zoos'. I thought it was wrong at the time and I still do. I was not questioning the fact that the conditions for elephants could not be drastically improved for some elephants in some zoos. This undoubtedly was the case. What I believed was that the answer was not to shove all the animals out of the back door and hope the problem would go away. These elephants were not going to be 'free'. They were not going to run around unfettered in 40 square miles of wilderness. Far from it. The Ankus would still be the tool of use and most would end up chained to trees for a good part of the time and never experience even the 'freedom' of wandering around in a zoo elephant paddock, regardless of the size. I have worried about this hasty and poorly thought out decision since it was taken. I still do. In fact I wrote ELEPHANT CARE to address and draw attention to some points which animal rights like to ignore. Not all zoos are bad and bad zoos can improve.
The fate of the Indian Zoo Elephants was brought home to me today when I read this story:
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Poor old 'Jaimala', I hope the authorities and the few animal rights cultists which have hearts can see their way to allowing the elephants return to Lucknow zoo. Sadly too late for the unfortunate 'Sumit' who has died already. Maybe the animal rights are happy because it died in 'freedom'. A bureaucratic penstroke separated two animals which had been together for eight years. I feel bitter and they are not my animals. I can't even begin to understand how the mahouts felt.