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Elephants from Sumatra
-how the ex/importation was invalidated-


ALIVE News Sept. 2003

It was revealed that Sumatran elephants were imported for circus and moving zoos to Aso bear park and Zoolasia in Yokohma two years ago.
Then ALIVE demanded under the free information act documents concerning this from the Ministry of Economics that is in charge of this issue.

We got the document one month later and found that Sumatran elephants
(probably 5) ,that were imported to Aso bear park in 2001, were clearly written as "wild".
The managing staff made an excuse to Ms.Nogami saying that they made a mistake and got an answer from the CITES secretariat in Geneva that they would not pick up this issue because the elephants were sent back to Indonesia safely.
And they thanked us saying that they could prevent the elephants from being imported owing to us this time.

Fault on the system

However, the true issue here is not like this. The Ministry of Economics does not have any wild life specialist. This means that they treat endangered species as one of the simple trade items.

They do not have a system to contact and make references to third parties such as NGO or specialists so that they can not get such simple information such as that there are no bred elephants in Sumatra , We think that this is a system that lets everything pass without ascertaining the truth if there are no mistakes on the paper.

There is another similar case that the government failed to deal with in a proper way.
From February in 2000 to January in 2001, 12 birds including Hyacinth Macaws that belongs to CITES 1 were smuggled 5 times from the Philippine and other countries to Japan.

The government admitted the importation for the academic purpose that was submitted by a trader who made a use of the name of the director of Waki zoo. This zoo which is operated by an aged couple, collects surplus animals that have nowhere to go from many zoos.

The condition of this facility is incredibly poor. Moreover, they have illegally sold wild Japanese monkeys that were hunted as pests to a facility for animal experimentation.

In Japan because there is no law for zoos, however poor a facility is it can call itself a "zoo".
In the case of smuggling Hyacinth Macaws , the Waki zoo attached pictures of good cages for them on the document. That is why the government staff was cheated so easily and admitted the importation.

Moreover, the director of the zoo signed the paper only once and the trader made spurious documents the rest 4 times without asking him. All documents were admitted by the government.

Macaws that were smuggled at that moment were 6 Hyacinth Macaws, 2 ? Macaws, 2 Green Macaws, 2 Blue Macaws.

Our advance

·In the paper work stage, there needs to be a system to check the content of the paper with cooperation of specialists or a NGO.

·They need to examine what kind of academic facility it is when it demands the importation of animals.

·Because most animals that are imported under the pretext of academic purposes are simply displayed, they need to keep track of the animals after they are imported.

·There needs to be a system that every animals in a zoo should be registered individually so that they can be traced for the rest of their lives.

·To support the above system traders of animals should be under license so that they can suspend or cancel the registration of them when they find any illegal activity.

Moreover the operation of zoos should be licensed as well.

All Life In a Viable Environment (ALIVE)