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A letter to the president of Sri Lanka

ALIVE News 10 Aug.2002

The President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Madame Cumarantunge,

Please forgive us for sending this letter to you so suddenly.
We are a nation-wide animal protection association in Japan.
We are very surprised to know that two elephants have been arranged to be sent from your country to Croatia by a Japanese group which intends to present the elephants to children in Croatia.
We think friendship is very important between your country and Japan. However we do not think the present of elephants is appropriate.

We are sending this letter to inform you that many Japanese who worry about the destiny of Asian elephants have doubts about this activity and disagree with the presenting the elephants.

These are reasons why we disagree with the idea to present your elephants to Croatia.

1.The life of elephants is about 60 years.Grown people in Japan and Croatia can not watch them to the end.
We think how unhappy it is for baby elephants to be taken from their native place to the land where both the natural features and climate are different and they can not find any friends.

2.It is cleary evident that a 15 day long trip by ship,jet and truck will damage the baby elephants'mentality and physical health.
Because they are living things,there is a possibility they will get sick or die.If such a thing happens,donations will not only be wasted,but also children will be disappointed.

3. In Croatia an animal protection association opposes very strongly to accept these elephants.
According to them the Osijek zoo dose not have even the minimal necessary conditions for lodging and feeding elephants.
Moreover since the last elephant which was in the Osijek zoo was transported from Croatia to Hungary in 1991, this zoo dose not have proper equipments and personnel to care for elephants.

4. Nowadays the tendency in zoos all over the world is to not introduce wild animals as much as possible.
Therefore this activity should be criticised internationally because the elephants which are going to be presented from your country are heard to be orphans from the wild.

5. Asian elephants are in a critical situation of extermination. Therefore CITES controls their transfer very strictly. The custom of presenting animals is a bad custom which should be abandoned.
We think what we should convey to future generation in the 21st century how important it is to conserve our natural environment, and the wild animals which we can not recover once we lose.

Additionally we would like to inform you of the unhappy condition of Asian elephants in Japanese zoos.

1. Almost all facilities for elephants are tiny concrete enclosure without shade of trees and soil.This condition is far from the standard for public facilities in Eroupe and America.

2. In Japan many cases only female elephants are kept alone because zoos follow their own convenience. Therefore they are highly stressed out mentally and physically and we find out many cases of neurosis and abnormal behavior.

3. In 120 years, no Asian elephant has been succesfully bred in the history of Japanese zoos.Almost no children have been born and the few that were born could not be raised.
In view of the welfare of animals the keeping conditions of elephants in Japan is very poor and the elephants there are unhappy.We think we are obligated to inform the children of this fact correctly that we can not enjoy elephants in zoos because of their poor situation and how unhappay they are even in the wild because they are being exterminated.

We hope that we can convey the futility of war and the importance of peace to children in the 21 st century.And we do not think we need to present elephants as a way of our communication.
Donations collected in Japan should be used half in the promotion of communicating and visiting each other by children, and half used for the project for protection of elephants in your country. This way should be much better for future bridges among your country, Croatia and our country.

We would like to request you to take a stand against the leaving of elephants from your country.Please stop this plan.

Director of ALIVE
Fusako Nogami