Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
single

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR Newsletter

Aristotle said that elephants are “the animal which surpasses all others in wit and mind.” Recent studies of the elephant’s behavior and brain have confirmed what was evident to the ancient Greek philosopher: elephants have an extremely high level of intelligence and social awareness. Elephants have a strong sense of self and family. Elephants mourn the death or loss of family members. In the wild, elephants learn, play, and show compassion to others in their family. Conversely, elephants captured from the wild and forced into captivity suffer from depression, anxiousness, mood swings, and fear. They also exhibit higher rates of disease and disability. No wonder it has been shown that zoo elephants simply do not live as long as those in the wild.

So should elephants have an ethical and legal right to consideration of their well-being before humans inflict such pain and distress on them? A case filed by the animal advocacy group, Friends of Animals, seeks to establish such a right under federal law while also trying to halt the import of 18 elephants from the wild in Swaziland to three U.S. zoos.

Life in a Zoo is No Life at All for Elephants

As was widely reported late last year, Swaziland officials claim that elephants are overrunning their country and that if 18 are not captured and sent to the zoos, they will be forced to kill them outright. Answering the call, three U.S. zoos—the Dallas Zoo, the Sedwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo applied to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for a permit to import these elephants. If this plan goes through, nearly half of all the remaining African elephants in Swaziland will be brought to these zoos—leaving behind approximately twenty-one in the wild.

Many conservationists and scientists believe that this arrangement between Swaziland is simply a business transaction. The zoos involved have invested more than $25 million in elephant exhibits and need elephants to fill them. Likewise, Swaziland, which is a monarchy run by a king, is looking to make a profit of nearly $450,000 on their sale. And this is not the first time. In 2003, Swaziland sold 11 elephants to U.S. zoos for a profit of about $133,000.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of these animals asserts that USFWS has a mandatory duty under the National Environmental Policy Act to fully evaluate and disclose all environmental impacts associated with the issuance of this permit. This includes addressing the growing scientific evidence that, as a result of issuing the permit, these elephants will suffer social, psychological, behavioral, and physical impacts for the rest of their lives. USFWS’s failure resulted in information being withheld that might have led to a different outcome in its decision to grant the zoos a permit. Disclosure of this information might also create more pressure on the government of Swaziland — from other governments, NGOs, private institutions (including some zoos and universities), and individuals — to pursue alternative means to keep these animals in the wild.

USFWS’s decision means these 18 elephants face the possibility of being ripped away from their existing lives in the wild, years of confinement and misery, and mostly likely much shorter lifespans. It is about time the government starts taking into consideration the feelings of these animals before making devastating decisions about their fates.  If this case is successful in the courts, it would be a start.

Featured image source: MiPix via YouTube



Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through some recent posts below:

Our Obsession With ‘Purebred’ English Bulldogs is Actually Harming Their Health

Our Obsession With 'Purebred' English Bulldogs is Actually Harming Their Health

Cities Are Taking a Stand Against Puppy and Kitten Mills. Is Yours on the List?

quite_the_happy_dog

Urgent Action Needed Now to Stop Horrific Sterilization of Wild Horses

Urgent Action Needed Now to Stop Horrific Sterilization of Wild Horses

Determined to be a ‘Different Kind of Dairy Farmer,’ Woman Sends Beloved Cows to Sanctuary

Determined to be a 'Different Kind of Dairy Farmer,' Woman Sends Beloved Cows to Sanctuary

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

41 comments on “Why We’re Suing the U.S. Government to Stop the Import of 18 Elephants From Swaziland for Zoos”

Click to add comment
Sharon Crosier
6 Months Ago

I thought all elephants are endangered. How can they be overrunning any country?!


Reply
Sharon Crosier
6 Months Ago

I thought all elephants are endangered. How can they be overrunning any country?!


Reply
Sharon Crosier
6 Months Ago

:(


Reply
Sharon Crosier
6 Months Ago

:(


Reply
Rose Anne Main
6 Months Ago

What a nerve to say that the animals are overrunning the country and they will have to kill 18 of them! More than this as probably already killed by poaching for ivory and bushmeat. As for animals overrunning the country ehm, ehm, I think that particularl slot is already filled worldwide by human animals!


Reply
Rose Anne Main
6 Months Ago

What a nerve to say that the animals are overrunning the country and they will have to kill 18 of them! More than this as probably already killed by poaching for ivory and bushmeat. As for animals overrunning the country ehm, ehm, I think that particularl slot is already filled worldwide by human animals!


Reply
Snezana Trkulja
6 Months Ago

We have so many animals that have already been taken from the wild for us to manage including elephants. We knew then and we know now that removal of animals from the wild was a mistake. Why would we repeat history and continue to do the same. If the zoos have created such wonderful enclosures, perhaps they can create better enclosures for the animals they already have instead of introducing further wildlife.


Reply
Bev Bosworth
6 Months Ago

If they are going to be killed in the native land we have to save them for breeding. I just hope they have a large area to live out life in:(


Reply
Bev Bosworth
6 Months Ago

Life in a zoo is no life for an elephant:(


Reply
Bonnie Gillis Dugan
6 Months Ago

Leave the animals in the wild. The trip is very stressful & they will be full of fear. They are used to roaming & all of a sudden, they are on a ship & cannot move....money...that's all it is.


Reply


Subscribe to our Newsletter




Follow us on


Do Not Show This Again

×

Submit to OneGreenPlanet


Terms & Conditions ×