Applaud Opening of National Elephant Sanctuary

Target: National Elephant Center Executive Director John Lehnhardt

Goal: Commend the National Elephant Center for providing a home to elephants

An elephant sanctuary recently opened in Florida. This sanctuary will serve as a back-up conservation center if wild elephant populations in Africa go extinct

Called the National Elephant Center, this sanctuary is supported by zoo donations sufficient to keep up 225 acres of land for the elephants to roam and graze in. The sanctuary is meant to be as close to their natural home as possible, which will hopefully help the elephants to reproduce and have a better quality of life. John Lehnhardt, executive director of the sanctuary, says that baby elephants will not be sold, nor will the sanctuary buy any elephants.

The National Elephant Center is meant to serve as a back up plan in case conservation efforts in Africa fail. The sanctuary is equipped to sustain a population of elephants should the worst happen. 35,000 to 50,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory. This means that elephants could go extinct in the next decade.

Already there is a huge push towards extinguishing the demand and supply for this trade but it is proving difficult. The wildlife trade has become the fourth largest transnational organized crime in the world, under drugs, weapons, and human trafficking. Poachers will hunt the elephants via helicopters, shooting down a herd in a few minutes. On the ground, another group of poachers will retrieve the ivory and take off before the park rangers find them. Others will resort to poisoning the elephants with cyanide.

With elephant numbers dwindling, sanctuaries such as the National Elephant Center may be the last chance for these magnificent species to survive. While it is not their natural habitat, at least the elephants in this sanctuary will not be the subject of poaching and enjoy a fulfilling life. The sanctuary is also not open to the public, enabling these creatures to live peacefully. Commend the director and his staff for protecting this incredible species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear John Lehnhardt,

I would like to congratulate you on the opening of your sanctuary, and also thank you for your conservation efforts. With the elephant population dwindling in Africa, centers such as yours are imperative for their survival. I am glad that such organizations like yours exist to give these creatures a home, even if it is not their natural habitat. While the possibility of these species going extinct in Africa makes my heart ache, I know that there are others who are willing to repopulate the species. Hopefully by then, the demand for ivory will have decreased or disappeared.

Please continue with your efforts no matter how difficult it becomes. Humans have done serious damage to the environment and its animals, the least we could do is try to fix it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Brian Snelson via Wikimedia

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6 Comments

  1. Jennifer — You might want to do a little more research before congratulating zoos on the opening of the National Elephant Center (NEC).

    It is not a sanctuary. Why not?

    The NEC is a breeding center. Sanctuaries don’t breed.

    The NEC is a transit center for elephants being moved from one zoo to another, when their exhibit is being renovated, etc. Real sanctuaries are forever homes for their residents.

    From photos and video, the elephants’ enclosures are basically big pens. Real sanctuaries try to recreate as natural a life as possible for their residents.

    You can learn more about what a real sanctuary is here –
    http://www.sanctuaryforelephants.org/about-gsfe/what-is-sanctuary/

    • Who says sanctuaries don’t breed!? Many of them do, just not the scamtuaries in the USA! As the posting says, this breeding centre will be for the conservation of the species tosupport the wild population should it start to fail.

      Without breeding the species is doomed, in captivity and in the wild.

      Maybe YOU should do some more research….

      • You tell me a sanctuary that breeds. If the facility breeds, it’s not a sanctuary. Anyone can call themselves a sanctuary; that doesn’t mean they are.

        I suggest you check out the website of the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) — http://www.sanctuaryfederation.org/gfas/ — the only accrediting body for sanctuaries.
        In particular, you should look under Information for Donors to read how GFAS distinguishes between sanctuaries and pseudo-sanctuaries.

  2. I should add that certainly the NEC appears to be far better than many zoos, but that’s not saying much.

    Zoos have, in recent years, coopted the language of sanctuaries without actually putting the concepts into force. We must be educated consumers of zoo public relations so we don’t mistake a fake for the real thing.

  3. belen ordoñez says:

    ENHORABUENAAA ¡¡¡HURRA¡¡¡ INTELIGENTE DECISION LOS ELEFANTES SON UNA ESPECIE MILENARIA TIEN MILLONES DE AÑOSS Y DEVEMOS PROTEGER ESTOS ANIMALES RESPETANDO Y DARLE SU VALOR MENOS MAL QUE ALGUIEN INTELIGENTE Y CON PODER POR FIN VALORA LO MARAVILLOSO DE LA NATURALEZA Y SUS ANIMALES ES EL MAS PODEROSO LEGADO DE NUESTRA MADRE TIERRAA SI SEÑORR BIEN Y BIEN UN PASO MAS

  4. Any peaceful place that an elephant can live in comfort without the fear of being hunted by savages is better in my book than having them become extinct forever and then saying oh my! We should have helped save them. A open plains zoo or sanctuary call it what you like is far better than extinction. And this new sanctuary with it’s large acreage will be far more peaceful than being shot at by lunatic murderers for sport, greed and other nefarious acts.

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