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Sunny the elephant is a heartbreaking example of what life can be like for wild animals who are forced to live in captivity. At the Nomi Ishikawa Zoo in Japan, this beautiful animal has been completely alone for 29 years – regularly shut in a small concrete cell, without ever seeing other elephants.
When it is cold and snowy, Sunny has to spend most of her days locked in her tiny indoor cell. According to a Care2 petition launched in her case, she tries desperately to somehow cope with her boredom, loneliness, and frustration.
Sunny has nothing to do at all and she tries to entertain herself by exploring the walls of her cell with her trunk. There is sad evidence for that: dark marks all over the walls, up as far as her trunk can reach, made from Sunny doing the same thing over and over again, for 29 years.
It goes without saying that this living situation is completely unnatural for an elephant. In her natural habitat, Sunny would not even know the meaning of physical boundaries of space. Elephants are highly social and intelligent creatures. In the wild, Sunny would be a part of a family, she would have constant contact with other animals, and she would be able to explore large territories. What she is experiencing now is a life of solitary confinement.
The organization Elephants in Japan, together with wildlife group Zoocheck, is working to help Sunny and other captive solitary elephants in Japan, but they need our help to be able to do their work and save the animals.
“The more voices we can add to this cause, the more power we have to approach our targets and demand change,” the organizations’ petition says. “In Japan, this is pushing for the government and other relevant authorities to develop legislation that sets higher standards of captive elephant housing and care, including prohibiting the keeping of highly social animals, like elephants, in social isolation.”
Click here to sign the petition to free Sunny!
Image source: Elephants in Japan, Zoocheck/Care2