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A letter to Sri Lanka from "LIFE"

(a Croatian animal protection group)

ALIVE News August 2002

Dear Sir,

We appeal to you because of the intended delivery of two baby elephants from your country to our country Croatia.

Whe are the society for animal protection named “LIFE”, and as the non-goverment organisation, we are occupied with the practical realisation of the animals protecting and taking care for, in the broader sense. Although our center is located in Osijek, where we are formally founded in the year 1998., we act on the territory of the whole Croatia. We are also associated with the other similar world organisations. So we are the members of the WSPA (World Society for the Protection of Animals), CCN_Network and also we are associated with RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

For some longer time we know about the idea of transfering two baby elephants from your to our country. But also, knowing the international conventions and laws on the one side, and the circumstances in Croatia and Osijek on the other side, we were almoust sure that this idea will not be realised. That is because it is not possible to realize it without the brutal violating the lows and conventions by the individuals responsible for initiation and realisation of the elephants transfer.

Several days ago we found out that the elephants transfer will be realised anyway, and we decided to find out the informations and the circumstances related to the reasons, decisions and ways of realisations of the elephants transfering idea. In the information collecting we collaborated also with the organisations outside our country. All up today received informations confirmed us what we knew before, and pointed also to the presence of nonallowed negative elements related to the law and moral principles violating.

We want to emphasize that we do not have any doubts about the good and sinceraly intentions of your country and you personally, to do one beautifull gesture to our country. But from the information we collected it is evident that the numerous ommisions and mistakes is done in

- decisions and professional assesements making.

- procedures of the formal papers creating

- preparation of the fisical realisation of the transfering and further taking care of the elephants and environment

The main reasons for this ommisions (at least in our country) are present because there are not yet founded all needed professional services for estimations and decisions realisation, and for the fisical realisation of such projects according to the existing rules and lows effected in the world and our country, related to the animals protection and care. These laws and rules were changing and supplemented in the whole world during the last years. As Croatia was in the long and difficult war, and after that in restoration of the destroyed parts of the country for ensuring the elemental living conditions for people, a lot of the other important activities are stopped and are waiting for realisation according to the priorities. Slavonia with the city Osijek as the capital of it was the most destroyed part of Croatia. The restoration for the elemental people needs is still actual. Therefore the first law about the animal protection and care is brought in the year 1999.g. and the conditions for its practical use are just to be created.

The Ministry which is asked for the formal import permission for elephants, do not have the real possibility for professional decisions and estimation making which must include the knowledge about the international laws and conventions, and specifical needs for the different kinds of animals, particulary for those who are domestic on another continents. Therefore, the reason for the formal import permission creation could be only the belief that the individuals in and outside Croatia, who initiated and intend to realise the idea have the honest intentions and know what they do.

Because of all carried out below in this letter, the real actions and the control of the decisions and realisation related to the animals protection do the nongoverment organisations like us. Our goverment is opened to help us in this humane and useful job, because that is the way to help the goverment to found faster that activities inside itself.

Before very short time we find out that the elephants will be delivered very soon (August 10.) and therefore we decided to expose you immediately only some important facts which should be the reasons for stoping the elephants transfer now, before the all circumstances and facts become more cleared and controled. Additional informations and documenting of all informations we will send you after but very soon, because we consider it to be important for your own control of all informations and helpful for easier correct and argumented your own decision making.

The main facts which we expose you now are the next:

1. The idea of elephants transfer from your to our country was initiated by the individuals from the (Japanese-Croatian) organisation “SUZY”, which is not registered in Croatia, and as we find out there are not any information that it is registered in Japan. Therefore we cannot get any official information about the activities of that organisation, but we have non-official and sure information that some individuals connected with the “SUZY” (also in our country) were active in trading and other commercial using of animals from another continents. From Japanese side we have the information that the main creator of the transferring elephants idea is the Japanese journalist (non-professional person) who visited Croatia during the war and initiated the idea and presented it as the wish of the seven Japanese children who wanted to gift the elephants to the Croatian children (in the way as children give the toys to another children).

2. All other collected data and information indicate very surely that the whole action is initiated only for commercial reasons, and absolutely nothing is undertaken and is not planned to undertake for the elephants care and surviving at the present and the future time. We have the information that the mentioned Japanese journalist intends to transfer the elephants by feet from Belgrade to Osijek because he wants to make the movie about them.

3. In the ZOO Osijek do not exist even the minimal needed conditions for lodging and feeding the elephants, and especially for all other aspects of needed care. The last elephant who was in Osijek ZOO was transported from Osijek to Hungary in the year 1991. and since that time do not exist the objects and personals in the ZOO for elephants care and insuring minimal conditions for their surviving. Also there is not any project, which consider such kind of problem now. From the information and papers that we have, we can see that these facts are not known to the individuals in your country (so we believe to you personally too).

4. This kind of elephants belong to the special protected I group Appendix1 (Asian elephants from orphanage and not from captivity) and must not be used for any commercial and fun purporse (what is the only intended purporse in this case) included exposing in ZOO. Therefore the CITES document could not be given for this two elephants.

5. From the information we have now, we can see that the personal from our Ministry, who were asked for some formal import papers do not know the numerous number of relevant facts, so we have to inform them also for reconsider their possible decisions and estimations.

6. We also can see from information and documentation that nobody took in account the fact that several serious animal diseases are present in Europe ( foot and mouth among them) which bring into danger the animals and people. Yugoslavia belongs to the states from which any transfer of animals and animal product to another countries is forbidden. We have the information that the elephants will be retained in Yugoslavia for 10 days. We also have the explicit information dated on August 07th from official person from Belgrade that nobody asked for any permission for transferring elephants over the territory of Yugoslavia. We also have the information that the diseases foot and mouth are also present in your country.
These diseases are not present in our country.

7. According to the professional individuals estimation the cost of elephants transfer from your to our country (only tickets for elephants, without all other expenses) will be about 135.000 $. We have the information that the Japanese children gathered this money for the transfer. We think that this money should be gifted to the orphanage of elephants in your country.

All information we presented in the points 1 - 7 below, we received from professional individuals, mostly leading people in RSPCA, WSPA, similar organisation from Japan, Ministry of environment protection and other individuals in our country, and also some professional individuals from your country.

We thing that in this moment, the facts exposed below in this letter are enough for you for momentarily stopping the intended transfer of elephants from your country, especially because we know that elephants are treated as national wealth and pride of your country. Therefore we appeal to you in the name of law, humanism and benefits of the animals and people, to stop the elephant transfer now. Through the later analysis of all information in the direct collaboration (because the elephants are to transfer from your to our country and all responsibility and problems belong to us), and without any mediator between us (as in this case were the persons from Japan) we can create the correct decision based also on the additional information.

And the finally we want to tell you that our intention is not only to stop transfer of elephants from your to our country but give our contribution to the efforts on global level in stopping all actions directed to using animals against the existing laws and conventions related to animals welfare.

More information about us you can find on our web site

Society for the protection of animals "LIFE"
Davorko Feil, president

Gornjopodravska obala 84,Nemetin bb
31000 Osijek/HR

Tel. 031 283 445,060-413-413
Fax 031 284 415