Last October, I wholeheartedly welcomed an initiative by the Indian Government to give “National Heritage Animal” status to its Asian elephants, in a bid to raise awareness about the threats faced by the species and to highlight the need for increased conservation efforts.
In complete contrast, and to my dismay, I have just learned that India is now planning to give an elephant to Kabul Zoo! Afghan officials are in India right now, searching for a suitable candidate. Apparently a leopard and a snow leopard are also on their ‘shopping list’.
I dread to think of the conditions awaiting these ill-fated animals should they make it to Kabul. Bleak enclosures, a high risk of injury, totally compromised welfare. It’s also been reported that they will face a tremendously difficult journey to Afghanistan, overland through Pakistan.
Why do we continue to think of animals as mere objects to be shunted around from one place to another, put on this planet for our own personal entertainment? What gives us the right to impose a life sentence of misery on wild animals in the name of ‘entertainment’ because they are not represented in a zoo’s ‘collection’? How can we consider it acceptable to keep an elephant – given all we know about their intelligence and social behaviour – isolated and alone?
Born Free will endeavour to put a stop to this dreadful deal. We will appeal to the Indian government to call a halt to the project. Keep a regular eye on our website for further news.