Today’s World Wildlife Day …

And the future of Elephants is in our hands.

World Wildlife Da

This year’s focus is on elephants – African and the Asian variety. It’s estimated that 100,000 African elephants were slaughtered for their ivory between 2010 and 2012. Asian elephants are losing their habitat.

There is some progress, but more needs to be done to protect elephants and to stop the illegal trafficking of all wildlife.

Go to http://www.elephanttrust.org and www.elephantvoices.org to find out how you can help.

We Lost Two more magnificient Elephants in 2015

Wanda the Asian Elephant

Wanda

February 12, 2015: Wanda, 57: one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America, Wanda was humanely euthanized at PAWS’ ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. following a long history of arthritis and foot disease, the leading cause for the euthanization of captive elephants. Wanda was born in the wild but was captured at a young age to be put on display in the United States. During her lifetime she was moved from one place to another, including Disneyland, a circus, zoos in Texas and then Detroit. In 2005 the Detroit Zoo (a leader in animal welfare as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue) decided to end its elephant program and opted to relocate Wanda and fellow Asian elephant Winky to PAWS’ ARK 2000. (Winky passed away in 2008.) Another Asian elephant, Gypsy, arrived at the Sanctuary, and it was discovered that they had been in a circus together more than 20 years earlier. They instantly remembered one another and could always be found close together. Even in death, their friendship endured. After Wanda passed away, Gypsy approached her friend, stayed by her side for a period of time, gently touched her body and “spoke” to her in soft rumbles before slowly walking away.

Iringa

Iringa at PAWS

July 22, 2015: Iringa, 46: North America’s oldest African Elephant, who was living at the PAWS sanctuary, was euthanized following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease. Her favorite time of day was her therapy pool sessions, where she would float, taking the weight off her feet and joints. Her caregivers would feed her special treats. After the session she would immediately go and cover herself in mud, like an elephant would do naturally in the wild. Iringa was born in Mozambique, Africa in 1969 and was captured before she was two years old and sent to the Toronto Zoo in 1974. She was one of seven elephants shipped to the zoo from Mozambique that year; Iringa was the longest-lived elephant from that group. Together with two other elephants named Toka and Thika, who were born at the zoo, Iringa arrived at PAWS in October of 2013 after the Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants following the Zoo’s decision to end its elephant program. Toka is 45 and still lives at PAWS.

The World Lost Two Magnificent Elephants in 2014

Satao's enormous tusks classed him among the largest elephants left alive in the world Photo: RICHARD MOLLER/ TSAVO TRUST) 

Satao’s enormous tusks classed him among the largest elephants left alive in the world Photo: RICHARD MOLLER/ TSAVO TRUST)

May 30: Satao, 45-46: One of Africa’s last ‘great tuskers,’ Satao had tusks weighing over 100 pounds. He was found poisoned to death by poachers in Kenya. For years he adapted his behavior, hiding himself from humans. Likely born in the 60s, Satao succumbed to wounds from poison darts in a remote corner of Tsavo National Park where he had migrated to find fresh water after recent storms. Poachers hacked his face and tusks off. His four legs splayed where he fell with his last breath, left only for the vultures and the scavengers. Conservationists told how he moved from bush to bush, always keeping his ivory hidden among the foliage. Conversationists warn that elephant poaching “is at least 10 times the official figures.”

 

Annie (taken at PAWS)

Annie (taken at PAWS)

Nov. 18: Annie, 55: Asian Elephant, born in Assam, India in 1960 and taken from her mother at a very young age for use in the zoo industry, Annie was housed at the Milwaukee County Zoo where she was cruelly trained. While held by ropes and chains, handlers “broke” her, mercilessly beating her into submission. There is actual video of this; the zoo recorded it as a training session for other keepers. Under public pressure, the zoo opted to relocate Annie, along with Tammy, another elephant from the Milwaukee County Zoo, to PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society). Annie, because of her mistreatment, endured severe arthritis and foot disease, which worsened over many years. She was humanely euthanized on November 18, while lying on soft soil and surrounded by those who cared for and loved her. At 55, she was among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

Both of these stories brought tears to my eyes. The picture of Satao, with his hacked off face and tusks was one of the most horrible I’ve seen. When I received the PAWS Newsletter and the information about Annie and read that she had been cruelly trained at the Milwaukee County Zoo, a place I used to support, I was outraged. When I saw the video they had made, I was ashamed that I ever given them a dime. I’m hoping that when others read about Annie, and the horrible life she and Tammy had there, it will keep others from supporting the Milwaukee County Zoo in the future.

The world lost two magnificent elephants in 2014. One to poachers and another to past cruel treatment that happened right here in the United States. For more information on PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) and the good they do, go to http://www.pawsweb.org/