War-torn zoo wants more animals

Dear Friends,

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.

Blogging off,


4 Responses to “War-torn zoo wants more animals”

  1. Maren Dallmann Says:

    I hope you succeed! I can only imagine what this zoo must be like. I don’t know much about Afghanistan, but from what I know I don’t think they have much regard for any animal. Quite apart from that, why does a country at war even have a zoo. Those animals are at more risk than anyone else, they have no hope of escape in an emergency

  2. Dawn Davies Says:

    What a disgrace. Perhaps officials in Afghanistan feel that people need something ‘normal’ in their everyday life to get through the effects of war, ie going on a family visit to the zoo, but this is not the answer. There is nothing normal for the animals in a zoo facility, and one in Afghanistan is going to have even less money spent on it than those in the west. Zoos are places of great suffering, but in this instance that suffering will be huge. It angers me how people feel that using animals as objects is acceptable. No one can explain why, but they still accept it. It is a real shame that this animal move is originating in India. The most famous Indian, Gandhi, once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” He would be ashamed.

  3. Mike Dooley Says:

    Absolute madness. How can the Indian authorities even consider such a move. This is treating animals like some sort of diplomatic “goody bag”, an idea which should have been consigned to the history books years ago. To move animals into a zoo in the middle of a war-ravaged city like Kabul is a travesty. The Afgan officials should be considering how to move the animals they have out to the safety of sanctuaries, not adding to the stock.

  4. Neville Wells Says:

    This all sounds horribly familiar and barmy to Born Free Activators, who will recall elephants in freezing Alaska; Achee the Little Lioness, saved from a photographer, sitting in the snow during the long wet winters in a Romanian consulate, until 2004 when she was rescued by Born Free to Shamwari South Africa’s BFF sanctuary. Due to this she has stunted growth, but see Bryony’s great BFF Nov 2010 blog. Zoos are truly dreadful places at the best of times, let alone in totally unsuitable locations and climates for their helpless inmates. eg. Baghdad Zoo,Iraq, has received from a North Carolina USA zoo one or more lions/tigers since 2008, according to the USA Press office at the former.
    Let’s have “Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Animals” in 2011 just for a change and put a stop to this animal trading disguised as daft,out of date diplomatic gifts. No one is impressed !