In 2011, Animal Defenders International (ADI) exposed systematic acts of brutality on Anne, a 58-year-old circus elephant. Custody of Anne was signed over to Longleat because getting her out of her current situation as quickly as possible was critical.
Anne was taken captive as a baby in the 1950‘s and spent the next 54 years with the ‘Bobby Roberts Circus'. Her life consisted of relentless touring and performing which resulted in arthritis. In the meantime, due to media coverage of her shocking abuse, donations started to pour in to help with her care and rehabilitation. The public donated￡345,000 ($594,000)
In 2011, Longleat promised to build a sanctuary for Anne funded by these donations. This sanctuary would provide Anne with companionship, while offering a home for other abused- and neglected elephants. Elephants like TANIA
In march 2014, Longleat announced they will no longer built a sanctuary and Anne will spend the rest of her life alone.
Longleat said that the company of another elephant could do more harm then good even though elephant-experts agree that companionship is an essential part of an elephant's wellbeing. Elephants are incredibly social animals who live their entire natural lives surrounded by their sisters, daughters and grandchildren.
ITS A TRAGIC STORY BUT IT GETS EVEN WORSE:
- Longleat is a multi-million pound entertainment company and not an animal welfare organisation. Longleat even defended Roberts’ circus handling practices during the trial and Longleat's staff made media statements, such as "if Anne survived Roberts they must have done something right".
- In a tragic twist of fate, Longleat was approached to provide sanctuary for elephant Tania. Their response was: "We don't have the facilities to take Tania in"
- Longleat is a full member of Eaza (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and Eaza clearly states elephants are NOT to be kept alone
- Longleat's keepers use a the bullhook (a rod with sharp hooks on the end) on Anne. Elephants are very intelligent emotional animals, with very long memories. Circus elephants endure years of this kind of physical abuse, that ensures that a wave of a bullhook, will elicit compliance – regardless of the intent of the current users, it means her life continues to be guided by fear.
- Longleat rebranded Anne's future home a 'haven'. This haven (which hasn't even been built yet) will just be for Anne, not for any other elephants. When she dies, this facility will be made available to other animals, not elephants. The average lifespan of an Asian elephant is 65-70 years but less for elephants raised in captivity. Anne has arthritis and is now 61 years old. Remember those donations and do the math. Longleat did!
DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE TRANSFER for Anne to a true sanctuary with the necessary funds. She's had 58 years of hell already and time is running out. Longleat lied and misappropriated public donations.
Aristotle said the elephant “surpasses all others in wit and mind”
Update #22 years ago
On March 5th, 2014 Animal Defenders International CHIEF EXECUTIVE, JAN CREMER GAVE THIS STATEMENT:
Although we welcome any improvement in Anne’s accommodation and environment, we hope that by the time it is completed it will not be too late for Anne. It is tragic that three years have passed and now it is being confirmed that Anne will remain alone for the rest of her life in Longleat. The chance of giving Anne COMPANIONSHIP appears to have been missed.
Update #12 years ago
There's another petition against Longleat as well for putting down six lions, including 4 cubs, for no reason.