Target: Tim Van Norman, head of the permits branch at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Stop the import of wild elephants to U.S. zoos.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved permits for the import of 18 elephants from Swaziland, Africa. Three U.S. zoos will put the elephants from Hlane Royal National Park into captivity for the rest of their lives. The zoos will cage these animals, which are used to traveling distances of 50 miles per day, into pathetically small enclosures where they often are driven to insanity or bored to death.
They will spend the rest of their lives on exhibit and forced to breed. Most of the elephants are female and only three are male and their ages range from 6 to 25 years old, but they won’t live very long considering the lifespan for captive elephants is 17 years old compared to 56 years for wild elephants. The elephants will go to the Dallas Zoo, Sedgwick County Zoo, in Wichita, Kansas, and Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska.
The organization, Friends of Animals, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service against the alleged illegal importation of the 18 elephants. They will need all the support they can get considering that a similar lawsuit that was filed by the Born Free organization in 2003, attempting to stop the import of 11 elephants from Swaziland, failed.
Elephants living in the U.S. don’t have a chance at a good life or even survival. These massive and family-centered animals should be able to exist in peace in the wild or an accredited sanctuary for the entirety of their graceful lives. We must put an end to the suffering and captivity of elephants. Tell the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the importation of these harmless animals and demand that there is an end to elephant captivity in zoos.
Dear Mr. Van Norman,
You just approved permits for the import of 18 elephants from Swaziland to three U.S. zoos. You approved the abuse and lifelong captivity of otherwise free-roaming and gentle creatures. By approving the importation of the elephants, you also supported the inhumane and needless exhibition and exploitation of animals.
You can still make a change for the better. Elephants in U.S. captivity live about a quarter of their natural lifespans. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for young elephants (like the 6-year-old being imported) to spontaneously die in captivity. We must put an end to the suffering and captivity of elephants. As head of the permits branch with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, you should do the right, just, and humane thing and deny the importation of these wild animals and end elephant captivity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Foto-Rabe