The Gulf Times has reported a notable victory for elephants in Sri Lanka. In February 2016, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena promised to gift a young elephant calf to New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key. This offer is said to be a sign of amicable relations between the countries. This is not the first time Sri Lanka has gifted elephants as peace offerings. China, Japan, South Korea, the Czech Republic, and the United States have all been gifted multiple elephants by Sri Lanka. However, thanks to the outspoken determination of eighteen animal rights activists, the shipment of this “gift” has been halted!
One of the activists responsible for stopping the shipment of this baby elephant is a Buddhist monk named Omalpe Sobitha. The Gulf Times credits Sobitha with saying, “Sri Lankan elephants have very strong family ties and to take away a child is a sin.” Additionally, he explained how the change in climate would also be a great shock to the young calf. (Mean temperatures in Sri Lanka are around 27 degrees Celsius compared to 15 degrees in New Zealand.)
Thankfully, the outcries from these concerned activists had an impact on the ruling court. This baby animal, named Nandi, will get to keep living with her family of ninety-three elephants in their sanctuary home – at least for now, until the court case is officially closed.
We hope this victory for elephants is an indication to the end of Sri Lanka’s practice of gifting captive wild animals. World leaders must take a stand and acknowledge that this habit is harmful to wildlife, and they ought to refuse any offers of animals as gifts. If you are as happy as we are about this success story for animal rights, please share it with your friends and remember all animals are individuals, not objects to be given as gifts.
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