IFAW Wins Improved Conditions for Australian Elephants

Monday, February 6, 2006
Sydney, Australia
The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has today placed a number of conditions on the permits to import eight elephants from Thailand to Taronga and Melbourne zoos.
IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare), RSPCA Australia and Humane Society International (HSI) appealed the decision by the Environment Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, to approve the import permits for the elephants.

“While we would prefer the import permits were refused, our appeal has resulted in significant improvements for the elephants,” said IFAW’s Rebecca Brand.

“This result demonstrates the zoos plan did not meet the welfare needs of the animals and proves that our groups were right to challenge the decision,” said Jane Speechley from RSPCA Australia.

“The conditions include better monitoring of the animals and most importantly the introduction of contingency plans should the animals develop behavioural problems,” said Nicola Beynon from HSI.

IFAW, HSI and RSPCA Australia prepared a list of conditions that the zoos must now meet should the Tribunal decide to allow the import.

The conditions include:
·Closed circuit TV monitoring of the elephants in the barns and throughout the enclosure 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
·The zoos must provide reports on the elephants to the Department of Environment and Heritage.
·If the elephants cannot be socialised or exercised regularly, Taronga Zoo must put contingency plans in place. If Taronga Zoo is unable to address any issues that arise the elephants must be moved to Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
·Earth mounds must be built at the Taronga Zoo enclosure for the elephants to lie on and mud wallows increased in size and number.
·Taronga Zoo must change the flooring in two of their four elephant stalls with a view to extending it to other stalls.
·A range of natural bedding materials must be trialled over 12 months in the elephant barns to monitor which the elephants prefer.
·The zoos must comply at all times with the Zoo Association Guidelines for captive elephants, which were previously voluntary.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
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James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
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Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia