For Immediate Release:
30 August 2011
PETA Urges CZA to Ignore Pressure From Zoos Reluctant to Release Elephants
Mumbai – Following years of publicising the plight of elephants kept chained, who suffer physically and psychologically in zoos, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has confirmed that the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has relocated 18 elephants from zoos throughout India to spacious sanctuaries where they will be able to roam, receive professional care and enjoy the company of other elephants. The move was in keeping with the CZA’s 2009 order banning the use of elephants in zoos. However, some zoos are attempting to circumvent this directive by asking to be exempt from relocating elephants, including the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai where an elephant frustrated by captivity killed a man last year. In the lead up to the Ganesh festival, PETA is urging CZA to ignore pressure from zoos reluctant to release elephants.
In arriving at the ban, the CZA cited major concerns about the living conditions of elephants kept in zoos, including the lack of adequate space to permit free movement and the stress from being chained for long hours. The CZA also expressed concern over the serious threat to which visitors are exposed when elephants are kept in captivity.
“Thanks to the CZA’s action, life has improved tremendously for the elephants who have been moved from the cramped confines of a zoo to the large natural spaces where they now reside”, says PETA India Director of Veterinary Affairs Dr Manilal Valliyate. “Now we are urging the CZA to give elephants the gift of freedom this Ganesh Chaturthi by keeping their commitment to move every remaining elephant still held captive in Indian zoos to forest areas where they can live out their lives in peace.”
PETA investigators found that elephants held captive in zoos across India are commonly chained and driven insane by their confinement. They also found appalling neglect, decrepit facilities and animal suffering on a massive scale. Every facility was seriously deficient in food, drinking water, housing, veterinary care, environmental enrichment, safety and security.
PETA has also set its sights on temples and circuses – both of which are notorious for their abuse of elephants. After being kept chained by all four legs inside a shed for nearly nine years at the Arulmigu Mariamman Temple in Samayapuram, a 23-year-old elephant named Mariappan was permanently relocated to his birthplace, the Animalai Tiger Reserve, where he got to see his mother for the first time in 17 years.
PETA’s correspondence with the CZA is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.