Export of jumbo calves thwarted

Export of jumbo calves thwarted

Animal rights

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), an umbrella body of Indian animal protection groups, helped in getting the proposed export of a pair of elephant calves by ZAK to Leipzig zoo in Germany scrapped.

“We came to know about ZAK’s decision to send two elephant calves in exchange of two African cheetahs in 2010. The very proposal is illegitimate when the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZAI) has notified restriction in keeping elephants in zoos within India. So, we decided to intervene in the matter,” said FIAPO coordinator Khushboo Gupta.

FIAPO, along with other animal welfare organisations in the country, approached CZAI, ZAK and Mysore zoo in this matter. A coordinated effort was initiated with animal protection groups in Germany such as Pro Wildlife and PETA, Germany, along with UK-based Born Free Foundation. Bangalore-based Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) and SAI Sanctuary, also played an important role in this campaign.

According to FIAPO sources, the exchange of two African cheetahs from Leipzig zoo with two female elephant calves from the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) was proposed. As per the agreement, the Mysore zoo received the cheetahs in December 2010.

As per the reply to the RTI application they received from CZAI, two female calves - Vanasree and Rupa - of an Indian elephant at BBP were proposed for the exchange programme. The date of the transfer was to be decided according to the Leipzig zoo’s convenience.

“The export of elephants is a cause of concern because of the poor track record of foreign zoos in housing them, particularly because of extreme cold weather in countries like Germany, which is not suitable for Asian elephants,” said Gupta.
As per a study conducted by FIAPO, more than 23 Asian elephants, mainly from India, died in foreign countries in the last few decades.

Exchange of animals among zoos around the globe is on the rise, as part of improving bilateral relations. There is no stringent international law to curb it.

The national task force on elephants, appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, recently recommended amendment of laws on captive elephants to prevent their sale, transfer, leasing and gifting.

When Deccan Herald contacted BBP executive director Dr R Raju, he said there was discussion in this regard by CZAI. “We are unaware of the scrapping of the decision to export the elephants. But as far as we are concerned, the exchange programme should ensure healthy growth of animals,” said Raju.


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