Lucy, a beautiful Asian elephant, arrived at the Valley Zoo on May 19, 1977. She came to Edmonton after being captured in Sri Lanka. Since there were no records of her birth, it was estimated that she was approximately two years of age – so Lucy is estimated to be 43 today! Lucy lived alone at the zoo for approximately 12 years. Then Samantha, a female African elephant, was brought to the zoo to keep Lucy company. In 2007, Samantha was sent to the North Carolina Zoo on a long-term breeding loan and Lucy has been alone since that time.
Lucy’s life in Edmonton does not even compare with the life she could be living if she was moved to a sanctuary. Currently, she lives a very solitary life with only human contact during “working hours”. Female elephants are highly social and suffer greatly when kept in isolation. Edmonton’s freezing winter weather and the zoo’s policy of locking Lucy indoors when the zoo is closed means that Lucy spends the majority of her time in a small barn. When she is allowed outside, she is restricted to an enclosure that is approximately one-half acre in size. Lucy exhibits signs of mental distress and has health issues—including upper respiratory problems, arthritis, obesity, and chronic foot ailments —attributable to inadequate conditions for the health and well-being of an elephant.
Both elephant and animal welfare experts agree that Lucy’s chronic health issues are exacerbated by being housed in a northern climate, which subjects her to confinement on cold, hard flooring, for the majority of the time. They also agree that her diseases are both chronic and advanced, and that she needs better living conditions and a more comprehensive program of medical attention than can be provided at the Valley Zoo in Edmonton. Lastly, they argue that keeping a female elephant alone, runs contrary not only to what science knows of elephants, but also national and international zoo association recommendations.
Despite strong scientific evidence, the City of Edmonton is resolute in their claim that Lucy is a well-adjusted healthy elephant overall and just fine where she is. In defense of their inaction in moving her to a sanctuary, they claim that Lucy is “too sick to move” and have convinced the media and their citizens that the “move will kill her”. However, they have never provided any medical evidence to that effect and have refused to broadened access to external experts to examine Lucy, continuing to allow only one external veterinarian to see her.
A number of experienced and renowned veterinarians world-wide have offered their support and services (at no cost to the City), yet the City and Zoo continue to insist that they have Lucy’s situation well in hand. Nonetheless, her condition continues to go undiagnosed – a situation that results in on-going pain and suffering for Lucy.
Please sign this petition asking the Mayor and City Council of Edmonton to ensure that Lucy is examined by an independent panel of elephant experts (a minimum of 9) to determine her medical condition (if any) and evaluate her “fitness” to travel to sanctuary. The experts chosen would be selected and agreed upon by both the City of Edmonton and Zoocheck Canada in order to ensure impartiality – affording the best advice for Lucy and all that care about her.
Sign and Share petition –
Did you know elephants are essential in the fight against climate change?
Did you know it is still legal to buy and sell ivory in Canada?
How about the fact that elephants may be extinct in the wild in our lifetime?
A coalition of organizations to include Elephanatics, Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, World Elephant Day, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos – Toronto, and Humane Society International – Canada created the #IvoryFreeCanada campaign to help keep our elephants alive.
On #GivingTuesday we want to make it our objective to reinforce the global importance of saving elephants! Elephants not only contribute to lowering Co2 levels but are keystone species responsible for a myriad of other ecosystems. We have written education lesson plans on their importance and by sharing them with educators can make an impact on their survival.
To get involved, please go to https://elephanatics.org/education/ and share our lesson plans with educators in your area. They are written for both the Canadian and US curriculums and are fun, interactive and flexible.
Then please go to Elephanatics Homepage to #DONATE to help our organization continue to educate other organizations, teachers, and community members about the dire necessity to keep elephants from becoming extinct. By donating to Elephanatics, you are helping us continue to educate and take action to save the world’s remaining elephants.
Thank you for your Giving Spirit!
As the holiday season approaches, consider purchasing a charitable item or becoming a monthly donor to support our cause! Thank you!
Click here: https://bit.ly/31QoDD9
Gift items: https://teespring.com/stores/elephanatics-bc?aid=marketplace
ELEPHANT RESCUE UPDATE
Many will recall we fundraised to rescue Joumban & Mae Seang in Laos earlier this year. If we have learned anything about rescues, it is that rescues change on a dime! The sanctuary asked us to donate to another rescue as they had since raised enough for Joumban & Mae Seang (who are now safe in sanctuary). We felt they were not taking enough care to ensure the seller didn’t buy another elephant – perhaps a baby – from the wild. We absolutely do not want to take that risk, so we kept looking for another rescue opportunity.
We thought we had settled on one, again in Laos, but the status kept changing so we held off any announcements. Unfortunately, they haven’t secured a major donor yet (we can only be a part-donor) so we are still communicating with several sanctuaries, including Elephant Nature Park, waiting for an ethical rescue.
A few days ago we heard Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE) in Brazil needed help with a rescue. Lady is an adorable, fluffy elephant, born in captivity, who spent 40 excruciating years in a circus and then 7 years in João Pessoa Zoo, Brazil. She will travel by road to the sanctuary in several days’ time. Lady’s feet are in the worst shape due to captivity – some nails are black! They will never fully recover but considerable funds are needed to give Lady the best relief possible. We have donated – thanks to you, our supporters – $1,200 towards Lady’s immediate vet care upon her arrival to GSE. (If any donors to the Joumban rescue do not wish their donations directed towards Lady’s care, please let us know and we will issue a refund.) We are very excited to finally be able to help our first ASIAN elephant! We will update you very shortly as soon as Lady’s rescue from the zoo begins!
By VF/ET – 17. October 2019
Today, 30 years ago, on 17. October 1989 in Ottawa/Canada – during the Conference of the Parties to the International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) – the 10 year moratorium and the global ban of ivory trade was adopted, since in the 1970s and 1980s, Elephant poaching triggered by the rush for ivory was at a dramatic high.
It was estimated in 1980 that Africa still boasted over a million Elephants (1979 estimate 1.5 million), but by the end of the decade the estimate was that only 400,000 remained.
The African Elephant was first listed by Ghana in CITES Appendix III in 1976. The following year, 1977, at the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP1) to this United Nations species protection convention, African Elephants were moved to Appendix II. Under Appendix II rules, species are not necessarily seen as threatened by extinction but their trade requires control to avoid use that would be detrimental with their survival as a species.
Elephants and ivory were monitored by CITES, but making the distinction between legal ivory and illegal ivory proved very difficult at the time. The drastic decline was brought to the attention of CITES and a proposal was brought forth to move the Elephants under Appendix I. Species under Appendix I are threatened with extinction and the trade of these species is only permitted in exceptional circumstances.
Not everyone was an advocate for listing Elephants under Appendix I. Well known ‘conservationists’ around the world and several South African countries argued that the listing was unnecessary in some places. South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana claimed that their elephant populations were growing at the time and were putting a strain on the ecosystem and local people. Some countries used the profits from legal harvesting of ivory, meat, and hides to support conservation and management. There was concern that with the new listing, crucial funds would be lost and conservation would suffer.
The Political and Bureaucratic Fight
Prior to this historic event in 1989, months and months of haggling between the two strong groups of lobbyists from the camps of the protectors and the users had continued and the two sides seemed irreconcilable.
The taker-lobby, lead by the money-laden sport-killers and trophy-collectors from e.g. the USAmerican Safari Club International and their affiliations, incl. corrupted governments, wanted to see “sustainable use” of the African Elephant populations to continue unabated and therefore also the ivory sales to flourish to “finance conservation”.
On the other hand the protectors presented strong evidence (see below) that such practice would certainly lead to the extermination of many African Elephant populations and bring the species close to extinction. They wanted all African Elephant populations be moved to the so-called Appendix I, which would mean a total ban of any trade in Elephants and any derivative (ivory, meat, hides etc.) like it had been put in place for the Asian Elephant that was placed and remained on CITES Appendix I since the CITES treaty had come into effect on July 1, 1975.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM
To break the deadlock and to take the most critical point out of the equation, the delegation of the Republic of Somalia to CITES tabled 30 years ago to the date today the so-called ‘Somalia proposal’, that left the disputed Appendix questions out of the debate, but called for a total ivory sales ban. Somalia at that time had a strong wildlife department, supported by the minister in charge as well as the president. Seconded by what was then the Kingdom of Swaziland, today Kingdom of Eswatini, that groundbreaking resolution sailed through was adopted against all odds by the state parties to CITES. It made immediately global headlines and caused a grave shock to the ivory poachers and traders.
Somalia itself had – before a proper wildlife department was installed in 1987 – lost in just one year (1984) most of its Elephant population by a foreign lead culling operation targeting the strongest remaining population in the country that roamed the whole area between the River Juba and the border with Kenya. That ecocide saw the Somali Elephant population decline from around 64,000 to below 7,000. It was an unprecedented slaughter led by foreign logistics including spotter planes from Kenya and the support of local and international crime-networks.
The strong signal had immediate positive results with ivory prices tumbling and Elephant populations relieved from poaching pressure.
The bold move was then followed up at the next CITES meeting two years later in 1990, when after nearly a decade during which African Elephant populations dropped by over 50% the species was then finally moved to Appendix I of the CITES rule-book.
The result of the ivory moratorium and the Appendix I trade-ban of Elephants and all derivatives resulted in a drop in the price of ivory and a decline in the number of Elephants killed illegally (Dobson and Poole, 1992).
As the years passed, the ivory ban remained a hot debate. There were those who demanded a continuance of the ban out of fear that without it, an increase in demand would trigger an increase in poaching (Padgett). Those who proposed to uplift the ban cited past arguments – overpopulation in some areas, Human-Elephant conflict, and the potential for profits.
In 1997, CITES chose to continue listing Elephants under Appendix I. However, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia had successfully proposed to have the Elephants in their countries listed under Appendix II. This was to allow for the sale of nearly 60 tons of stockpiled ivory that the three countries had to Japan (Bulte, Kooten, 1999). South Africa’s Elephant population was transferred back to Appendix II in 2000. During the years following, poaching increased in Africa, reaching crisis levels in 2011.
Today CITES still lists the African Elephant (since 18/01/1990) under Appendix I, with the exception populations of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe (Appendix II, 18/09/1997) and South Africa (Appendix II, 19/07/2000)
The inconsistencies and exemptions, the ill-advised ‘permitted’ ivory sales in 1999 and 2000 or the paid for burning of ivory, the haggling over the domestic sales of “historic” ivory (right know in the UK) and the unearthing of larger quantities of mammoth ivory from areas where the permafrost vanished due to climate change has put once again the ivory question at the forefront.
Given the fact that the time during the ivory moratorium 1989 to 1999 was the only time since the 1950s during which all Elephant populations in Africa recovered, another moratorium and total ivory ban is mandatory to again stop the rampant killing of Elephants in Africa.
Under increasing human population pressure, evastating habitat loss in vast areas of Africa and undeminished ivory poaching despite all counter-measures, the last strong and reproducing populations of the African Elephant – like in Botswana, Zimbabwe, South-Africa, Namibia, DR Congo, Tanzania and Kenia must be seen as a global resource for the relocation of Elephants to areas in the African Elephant range that are recovering e.g. from war and must not be deminished by culling, trophy-shooting or zoo-sales. The local communities in these wildlands with healthy elephant populations must be uplifted and rewarded as the global Elephant guardians.
A renewed total ivory ban will help to boost these plans.
– Today a similar difficult situation exists and a new total ivory moratorium is mandatory.
Re: Canada’s CITES Report Card
Are you aware that the African elephant is under threat of extinction? Every year 20,000 elephants are killed illegally for their ivory. If the poaching rate continues, some subpopulations of elephants could be extinct in the wild in 10 years. In response to this crisis many countries including the UK, China, several states in the US, France, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium and Israel have either closed or are preparing to close their domestic elephant ivory trade.
The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over $10 billion (USD) per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world.
Elephanatics, World Elephant Day and Global March for Elephants & Rhinos – Toronto have been in contact with Minister McKenna’s office several times to ask why Canada, in spite of calls by CITES for all markets to close their domestic ivory trade, still hasn’t done so and in fact does nothing to support increased protection for elephants. Why is Canada an outlier when it comes to the protection of the world’s most iconic, keystone species?
At the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES CoP18) that took place August 17th to 28th, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, representatives from 183 member governments (including the EU) came together to set the rules for the international trade of wild plants and animals.
There were five proposals for the regulation of elephant trade. This is how Minister Catherine McKenna’s deputies voted on these proposals at the conference.
Canada voted NO to protecting wild baby elephants from export.
Canada voted YES to decreasing the protection for Zambia’s elephants.
Canada voted NO to tightening the protection for elephants
Canada voted NO to affording greater protection for elephants.
Canada’s vote was non-registered.
There was also a proposal to increase the hunting trophy quota for the endangered black rhino in South Africa. Canada voted in favour of increasing the number of black rhinos that could be killed for trophies in South Africa.
Our petition asking the government to close the domestic elephant ivory trade in Canada has garnered close to 500,000 signatures. It is clear Canadians don’t have an appetite for being complicit in the demise of one of the world’s most emotionally intelligent and sentient species.
As the leader of the opposition party, what measures would you take to join other nations who are choosing to do the right thing and close their domestic ivory trade and the importation of trophies from endangered species?
Fran Duthie Patricia Sims Heather Craig
President & Co-Founder Co-Founder Co-Founder & President
Elephanatics World Elephant Day GMFER – Toronto
This is a question I have been asked many times over the past 7 years since founding Elephanatics, an elephant advocacy organization in Vancouver, B.C.
Elephanatics recently formed a coalition of organizations to include the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Humane Society International-Canada, Global March for Elephants and Rhinos – Toronto, and World Elephant Day. Together we created the #IvoryFreeCanada campaign to address the reasons elephants are important globally and the need to close the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada.
As a local grassroots organization, our mission has been to assist global elephant conservation efforts by educating Canadians about issues of ivory poaching, habitat loss, and the continued exploitation of elephants by humans, and to connect Canadians directly with elephant conservation partners in Africa and Asia. We do this through our three pillars of advocacy – Education, Conservation and Action.
We have brought significant awareness about the elephant crises to schools in the lower mainland, as well as a great number of schools in the San Diego area, with our education lesson plans and classroom presentations. Our Global March for Elephants and Rhinos has drawn a large segment of supporters from greater Vancouver and our coalitions’ #IvoryFreeCanada campaign has received much media attention as well as close to 500,000 petition signatures.
Elephants are an intelligent, iconic and sentient animal that requires our attention to their own importance and their value to the environment. As a keystone species, it contributes to the mitigation of climate change and supports a delicate ecosystem that inadvertently affects us all globally.
The importance of the elephant to its ecosystems and environment has been well documented by scientists. The elephant’s demise is a growing concern. The increase in carbon due to elephant decline in both Africa and Asia is articulated in the article included here written by Brandon Keim, Anthropocene Magazine.
At the recent Convention on International Trade in Flora and Fauna, (CITES CoP18) held in Geneva, Switzerland, an important agenda item had to do with issues surrounding the ongoing protection of elephants. CITES is the forum where governments have agreed to meet every two to three years to regulate the international trade of wildlife and wildlife products. Parties at CITES CoP-18), confirmed their commitment to the closure of domestic ivory markets, agreeing by consensus to focus scrutiny on remaining open markets such as Japan and the EU. Furthermore, parties that have not closed their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw & worked ivory will be requested to report on what measures they are taking to ensure that their domestic ivory markets are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade. It is assumed that Canada, as a signatory of CITES will – as do all other Parties – be required to report the measures they are taking and submit them to CITES.
Our goal as a coalition is to close the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada, thereby protecting elephants. Reporting on the measures our country will take to ensure we are not contributing to the trade will not prevent the slaughter of these animals. Canada is now in the minority of countries not closing their domestic markets, and there is no excuse. Why is Canada hesitant in taking a stronger force of action in regards to an issue that is also an environmental, global concern?
Any legal domestic trade is a conduit for illegal trade. As long as there are loopholes in the system, criminal activity will continue to disrupt economies worldwide and threaten to bring elephants to extinction for unconscionable purposes such as producing trinkets! Many countries to include the UK, Australia, France, Netherlands, Israel, Singapore, China, and several US states, have closed their domestic markets. We need to stand in solidarity with these countries in order to save a keystone species and to lessen the crime and corruption that ensues from the continued trade of elephant ivory. We believe we can liaise with the government on how best to implement a workable ban on the domestic elephant ivory trade, with exemptions similar to that of other countries.
We thank you for your support.
President – Elephanatics
Our generous monthly donors allow us to assist global elephant conservation efforts by educating Canadians about issues of ivory poaching, habitat loss, and the continued exploitation of elephants by humans, and to connect Canadians directly with elephant conservation partners in Africa and Asia.
Anyone who signs up to be a monthly donor of at least $20 a month will receive a free t-shirt of their choice from our product line. Note- offer only valid for t-shirts.
Where will my donations go?
All monthly donations for 2019 will be divided evenly and donated to the MARA Elephant Project to help protect African elephants in the greater Mara ecosystem and the Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation center in Thailand.
How do monthly donations work?
Monthly donations are an easy and effective way to contribute. You can decide on an amount (average donations are between $5-$25 a month) and have the donation made automatically through your bank account or credit card.
To become a monthly donor, please visit elephanatics.org and set up your donation on a regular basis by hitting the Donate button on the Homepage.
#IvoryFreeCanada Petition Update – August, 2019
Hello Elephant Supporters,
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (referred to as CITIES) has just concluded its most recent meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on August 28th. This convention (CITES CoP-18), is the forum where governments have agreed to meet every two to three years to regulate the international trade of wildlife and wildlife products. This includes everything from live animals and plants, food, leather goods, and trinkets made from animal parts.
An important agenda item at this meeting had to do with issues surrounding the ongoing protection of elephants. We are pleased to share some good news that came out of the convention. Although in Canada we have not yet closed the domestic trade of elephant ivory, here is a brief synopsis of what other countries proposed and the voting results below.
1) Zambia’s proposal to down-list their elephants from Appendix 1 to 2 was REJECTED. A WIN!
2) The proposal to amend Appendix 2 of CITES concerning enabling resumption of trade in registered raw ivory on elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe was DEFEATED. A WIN!
3) The proposal to export live African Elephants outside of their home range of Africa to zoos and other countries was DEFEATED. (with some exemptions) A BIG WIN!
4) Yahoo Japan will end the sale of ivory on the country’s biggest online auction site, joining competitors in a ban. A WIN!
5) Israel and Australia announced a ban on domestic ivory trade. A WIN!
Parties at CITES CoP-18), confirmed their commitment to the closure of domestic ivory markets, agreeing by consensus to focus scrutiny on remaining open markets such as Japan and the EU. Furthermore, parties that have not closed their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw & worked ivory will be requested to report on what measures they are taking to ensure that their domestic ivory markets are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade. It is assumed that Canada, as a signatory of CITES will have to, as do all other Parties that have not closed their domestic markets for commercial trade in raw and worked ivory, be requested to report on what measures they are taking to ensure that their domestic ivory markets are not contributing to poaching or illegal trade.
Unfortunately, a proposal by Kenya, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Libera, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic and Togo to Up-list the four Elephant populations in southern Africa to Appendix 1 from the current Appendix 2, therefore prohibiting all international commercial trade in African ivory, was rejected.
Although it was an excellent outcome for the African elephant at CITES COP-18, intense challenges in improving livelihoods, law enforcement, and closure of domestic ivory markets still remain.
The time is now to be responsible and close the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada. We have almost reached our goal of 500,000 signatures! Another WIN! Please keep signing and sharing.
As a FYI –All species of giraffe (who are facing extinction) were uplisted to Appendix 2, which is an important step in regulating trade, and preventing any illegal and unsustainable trade for future generations. A BIG WIN!
You can read the final CITES report here:
The Ivory-Free Canada Coalition
Read our coalition’s letter to Minister Catherine Mckenna, dated July 5, 2019, regarding the legal domestic trade in elephant ivory. Our coalition agrees it is an excellent opportunity for the Government of Canada to champion global wildlife conservation by announcing its intention to end the domestic trade of elephant ivory in Canada.