For Immediate Release:
21 November 2019
Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
PETA India Filed Petition Calling For Hippo Held in Isolation to Be Released and Reunited With His Parents
Delhi – Following the 11 October order of the High Court of Delhi asking Asiad Circus to reveal the whereabouts of the male hippopotamus it is currently holding in isolation, apparently illegally, it submitted the animal’s location to the court yesterday in a sealed envelope. However, the circus refused to share this information with the petitioner, PETA India, or government regulatory bodies, including the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Animal Welfare Board of India.
The matter is listed for its next hearing on 21 January.
In its petition, PETA India requested that the court order the seizure of the hippo and return him to his place of birth, the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Patna, where he would be reunited with his mother and father. The group also submitted damning findings from its 2017 investigation of Asiad Circus to the court. It requested that the court direct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to extend the purview of the CZA to include all “exotic“ wild animals, including hippos, birds, and others who aren‘t currently protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. This would provide them with greater protection against being captured and transported for use in entertainment operations such as circuses.
“Animals in circuses, including hippos, are confined to small enclosures, beaten to force them to perform confusing tricks, and denied everything that‘s natural and important to them – all for cheap entertainment,“ says PETA India Legal Associate Amir Nabi. “A ban on the use of animals in circuses would bring India in line with other countries that have already made this move and show the world that this is a progressive, compassionate nation that won‘t tolerate animal abuse.“
The hippo was transferred to Asiad Circus in 2015. It‘s thought that he has since been held in isolation in a cramped enclosure, in stark violation of the CZA‘s minimum enclosure dimensions and guidelines for mandatory social enrichment, which state that a male hippo must be housed with a female. Additionally, the circus’s performing animal registration certificate was revoked by the Animal Welfare Board of India in 2016, and its application for “captive animal facility“ recognition is still pending with the CZA, making its use of this hippo a flagrant violation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The 2017 investigation of Asiad Circus by PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way“ – revealed that visitors were permitted to get close to the hippo‘s poorly secured enclosure after the show, putting them at risk of being attacked, and that the tiny water tank in the enclosure contained only filthy, murky water and had hard concrete flooring, which could cause him to develop arthritis.
For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.