Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Trading in elephants

Pole Pole London Zoo
Pole Pole was caught from the wild in Kenya and given as a diplomatic gift to London Zoo

It is illegal under CITES to commercially trade in wild elephants list on Appendix I.  But zoos are classified as ‘non-commercial’ and can import wild-caught elephants and lock them up for life by claiming to be devoted to ‘education’ or ‘conservation’. 

Plus elephants can be legally traded as ‘diplomatic gifts’ if this is supported by both countries’ governments.  This was how Pole Pole the African elephant was shipped to London Zoo in 1969 and the loophole is still exploited today.  Born Free fights the barbaric live trade and supports positive alternatives such as the Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka.  The Home returns orphan elephants to the wild, who might otherwise be used as diplomatic gifts or sold to zoos.  In 2003 Born Free successfully campaigned to stop 12 wild pygmy elephants captured from forests in Borneo being sent to zoos in Japan and China.  Five were returned to the wild but unfortunately six remain in a Sabah Zoo.  Sadly one other elephant died.  Born Free’s campaign to end the capture and trading of wild elephants for zoos and circuses continues.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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