IDA Action Alert: Public Comments Needed to Oppose Zoo Elephant
lydia at idausa.org
Thu Jun 19 16:34:49 EDT 2003
IDA ACTION ALERT:
Your help is needed today!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has issued an Environmental
Assessment that whitewashes the numerous,
significant detrimental environmental impacts associated with plans by
the San Diego and Lowry Park Zoos to import
11 wild juvenile African elephants from Swaziland.
You can take action on this alert either via email (please see
directions below) or via the web at:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
We encourage you to take action by June 25, 2003
Public Comments Needed NOW to Oppose Zoo Elephant Import
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB: If you have access to a web
browser, you can take action
on this alert by going to the following URL:
Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
Mr. Tim Van Norman
----THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT IN YOUR NAME----
Dear Mr. Van Norma,
Regarding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 'no detrimental impact'
finding in the Environmental Assessment on the
proposed import of 11 wild, juvenile African elephants from Swaziland to
the San Diego and Lowry Park Zoos:
The proposed import would remove one-third of Swaziland's elephant
population. This would have an obvious effect
on the genetic viability of the remaining population.
The EA fails to include any citations or references, relying instead on
information provided by both Zoos, who have
previously provided factually false and misleading information to your
agency. The failure of FWS to independently verify
any of the claims in the EA renders it entirely inadequate.
The EA failed to explore the range of alternatives to this proposed
import, most significantly the legitimate
offers by three reserves in Africa to accept the elephants, allowing
them to remain in a free-ranging situation in
a range country of this species. In addition, Swaziland's elephant
population can be managed through immunocontraception, another
alternative the FWS has declined to address in the EA.
The pressure on habitat in Swaziland can be eliminated by expanding the
elephants range, a project for which
the Swazi government needs $300,000, funding that could be provided by
the Zoos or through African Elephant Conservation Act monies.
The EA assumes that zoos provide educational or conservation benefits,
however this assumption is not backed up by
any data or references. True conservation efforts focus on preserving
dwindling habitat for African elephants,
not on collecting "specimens" to exhibit for public viewing (for a hefty
admission charge). The proposed import would
have no conservation benefit.
The EA failed to consider the detrimental impacts this import will have
on the elephants who will be held for
the rest of their lives in small zoo enclosures that do not come close
to approximating natural habitats for these
intelligent, socially complex and free-roaming individuals. The EA
failed to examine the poor record of keeping elephants
in captivity in U.S. Zoos and the abysmal failure of U.S. captive
elephant breeding programs.
The EA fails to discuss the dangerous trade precedent created by this
transaction, although it clearly indicates
that the venture is commercial (i.e. the Zoos will pay money to
Swaziland for elephants. If they do not get elephants,
they will not pay money.) Allowing wealthy U.S. Zoos to buy elephants
for a hefty price from a cash poor nation
like Swaziland sets the stage for other nations to sell off their
elephants to wealthy and willing U.S. zoo buyers.
Finally, both Zoos were forced to relinquish their import permits
because they had provided false information about
the location and identity of elephants to be captured in their permit
applications. FWS regulations prohibit
the renewal of permits to any entity that has made factual
misrepresentations or material omissions of fact in their
original permit applications. For this reason, your agency would appear
to be prohibited from reissuing these permits.
Please revise the EA to accurately reflect the negative impacts
associated with this import. FWS must take the
course of action prescribed by Alternative 2 and permanently reject the
Zoos's permit applications.
----END OF LETTER TO BE SENT----
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