Friday, April 14, 2017

Sri Lankan court case against gifting elephant to New Zealand shifts focus to conservation

On a writ petition filed by animal rights activists and Buddhist and Christian organisations, the Court of Appeal has stayed the export of the baby elephant “Nandi” and fixed May 26 as the next date for hearing the case.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General had appointed two committees to revise the regulations relating to the export of baby elephants to other countries. The committees are expected to give their reports before May 26.

It was in 2016, when the then New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visited Sri Lanka, that President Sirisena had announced that he would gift to New Zealand the baby elephant Nandi kept in the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. But opposition to this rose both in Sri Lanka and in New Zealand. The grounds were similar.

The New Zealand animal rights organisation SAFE said in a statement that it was “deadly opposed” to bringing another elephant into the country.

The first of many reasons for this being that transporting and caring for an elephant in captivity is extravagantly more expensive than maintaining them in the wild.

However, the most important reason is that female elephant often never leave their mothers or mother figures. Even though Nandi was orphaned, she will be brutally ripped away from her family and sold to solidify foreign relations.

'Nandi' is not the first elephant to be sent to New Zealand from Sri Lanka, as another was sold to them last year,” SAFE said.

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