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In Defense of Animals (IDA) USA is urgently looking for supporters for their campaign to send Tania – a female Indian elephant who has lived alone for most of her 39 years – to a wildlife sanctuary.

Tania was just three years old when her herd was wiped out in the wild in 1978, and she was immediately sold to the Plaisance-du-Touch Xoo near Toulouse in the southwest of France, where she remained for almost 25 years.

Since then, she has been shunted around from zoo to zoo across Europe, most recently ending up in a tiny, cramped enclosure in Romania’s Targu Mures Zoo.

According to the National Elephant Center, “Female elephants are by nature affiliate, meaning they focus their efforts on social interactions.”

When Tania has clearly been unable to focus her efforts on familial bonding, what sort of distress must she be enduring?

IDA says, “The zoo industry reportedly claims that Tania does not get along with other elephants. Yet, zoos often use this claim to justify housing solitary elephants when, in fact, it is the unnatural conditions at zoos that deprive elephants of their most basic needs – room to move and more natural social groupings.”

Roberta Brown, one of the animal activists behind IDA’s campaign, adds, “She is showing signs of severe stress and has a damaged foot which is in need of treatment. She is often seen swaying from side to side and also seen rubbing her head against her enclosure which are both signs of distress in elephants. The floor has no drainage, and Tania has to stand with her ill feet in her own urine and feces. She has had a life of misery and neglect, and (we hope) to give her one last chance of some happiness after all she has gone through.”

If you, too, would like to give Tania a chance of happiness, you can:

  • Check out the campaign’s Facebook page.
  • Take a look at this list of Romanian embassies and consulates around the world, and voice your concerns to the relevant embassy in your country.
  • Contact Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.
    • Address: Mr. Janez Potocnik, Commissioner for the Environment, European Commission, Environment DG, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium.
    • Email:
  • Urge the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to take immediate action to reduce Tania’s suffering and introduce her into a new environment, where she can freely interact with other elephants.
    • Address: EAZA Executive Office, Dr. Lesley Dickie, Executive Director, ℅ Artis Zoo – Amsterdam, PO Box 20164, 1000 HD Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    • Email:
  • Share this article, or IDA’s official campaign page, to raise awareness about Tania’s tragic story.