LONGLEAT: HERE'S LONELY ANNE, WITH NOTHING TO DO, JUST STANDING AT HER PRISON GATE! ISOLATED IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR 7, 5 YEARS! SHE HAS NO LIFE!

  • by: Rita Claessens - Elephant Freedom Fighters-
  • recipient: Specialist Wildlife Services (SWS) Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, publicprotectionwest@wiltshire.gov.uk British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) BIAZA Elephant Welfare Group (BIAZA/EWG) The Department for Environment, Food

Remember Anne? She is the elephant that was rescued in the UK in spring 2011 after an impassioned public outcry when a video showed how she was severely beaten in Bobby Roberts Super Circus. Seven years have passed since her rescue and Anne still has not had her basic need fulfilled: elephant company. ABOUT THIS NEGLECT YOU CAN READ MORE AT THE SECOND PART OF THE PETITION.

AS FOR NOW, NEW NEGATIVE REMARKS HAVE BEEN MADE BY NUMEROUS VISITORS. HERE IS A LIST TO CONSIDER WITH THE HIGHEST URGENCY/

- ANNE DOES NOT HAVE ANY SHADE OUTSIDE. SHE IS STANDING IN THE HOT BURNING SUN ON HER BACK AND HEAD.

- SHE HAS NOTHING TO DO! SHE IS LEFT WITH SOME OLD TYRES HANGING AND A RED BALL IN A DEAD TREE STUMP SINCE APRIL 2011 VARIATION? STIMULATION OF THE BRAIN? DISCOVERING NEW THINGS, NEW TOYS? NOTHING! HOW BORED SHE IS. ALL SHE DOES IS STANDING AND WAITING...... STANDING AND WAITING... STANDING AND... 

Just two excerpts from the Defra document governing animals in zoos. Longleat are actually breaking the law by not providing an adequate outside space for Anne.

4.3 Accommodation must take account of the natural habitat of the species and seek to meet the physiological and psychological needs of the animal.
4.4 Enclosures must be equipped in accordance with the needs of the animals with bedding material, branchwork, burrows, nesting boxes, pools, substrates and vegetation and other enrichment materials designed to aid and encourage normal behaviour patterns and minimise any abnormal behaviour. Facilities must take into account growth of animals and must be capable of satisfactorily providing for their needs at all stages of their growth and development.

There is nothing in Anne's environment that encourages her to move. The keepers should be placing tasty bits of food all over her outside space for her to search for. She should be fed a variety of plants that can benefit her health.With SPACE ,nature and a companion elephant by her side Anne would walk miles if she were ever ''allowed'. As ever ,It's Ok for the humans but this is far from 'Ok' for Anne. Trapped in that small space forever confined ,never to go outside and to walk in nature communicating with her kind. Anne has died inside ,she desperately needs her life back.  Nothing but boredom and neglect. SHE IS SEEN SWAYING FOR OVER AN HOUR SOMETIMES: BOREDOM, LONELINESS....  Beautiful young girl Anne has been seen often with her nurturing instincts towards the goats(Anne used to be an Elephant Nanny in her circus days... This is exactly how she'd be with her Elephants once again if ALLOWED

- SHE MAINLY IS A TOURIST ATTRACTION, FOR DRIVERS PASSING BY: LOOK! AN ELEPHANT: PEOPLE GAZING, TAKING PICTURES, LET'S SEE THE OTHER ANIMALS.  she has no life of her own.  Anne is confronted with the constant traffic queues that pass her by 7 days a week ALL GAWPING AT HER (Longleat state that Anne lives in ''Peace & comfort''! What a lie that is) ...Anne coming out to nothing ,she has no life. There is so little understanding by the visitors about wild animals and what they need. They are just happy to see an elephant. They don't understand the implications for Anne.

THERE IS ONLY DRY SAND, THAT SHE THROWS OVER HER BODY TRYING TO COOL OFF... THAT SAND IS SHARP AND HARMING HER DRY BODY...  what she needs is mud and lots of it. She would have mud to wallow in and throw over herself. SHE NEEDS A MUD WALLOW TO PROTECT HER DRY SKIN FROM THE HEAT!

From the FEB 14th 2014 Seminar held at Longleat to discuss Anne's future. The former Longleat CEO David Bradley wanted to create a 24acre sanctuary for Anne and other EU Elephants facing abusive lives. David was sacked in Oct 2013 and then a seminar was scheduled - among Zoo staff, unnamed 'STAKEHOLDERS' Matt Forde of SWS and Conservationists Ed Stewart of PAWS, Chris Draper of Born Free & Deborah Bradfield a Animal Health inspector for the City of London. One statement was made public from the conservationist attendees of the seminar - its in our FILES named 'When Sanctuary is not a Sanctuary' by Ed Stewart http://www.all-creatures.org/…/ar-sanctuary-not-sanctuary.h… . From it there is much truth about Zoos being no compromise for freedom or true sanctuary but one comment we have been concerned by is this;

"she cannot climb even the most modest incline when the ground is damp."
Ed Stewart, President and Co-Founder, Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
March 2014.

Anne was photographed climbing in and out of mud wallows and giant puddles herself on OCTOBER 7th 2013, with the photos of it from her walk around the park being published in Longleat's website and posted on their Facebook page (On Anne's walks before Anne was moved into PC) and again kneeling, laying and climbing in her mud pile in 2015 in her outdoor paddock in her new PC enclosure. So I question, Why did Longleat sack David and change the plans and most importantly......

******Were the Conservationists shown Anne's physical abilities in wet mud or were they just Told that she couldn't manage even the slightest incline on damp ground?******

If they were told, then by who & should/can this be reevaluated now?

Because Anne seems to have been having a great time without struggles here in this image just months after being rescued https://www.facebook.com/…/a.201127676594…/267632569944336/… and then 2 and a half years later is declared too crippled to be on wet mud? (Even healthy Elephants make a meal out of Climbing out of wet mud, their feet are spongy and their baggy-trousered back legs always make it look more difficult than it is for them, they seem to keep going until they master it for themselves, Anne can do it with a bit more effort - this sincerely shouldn't be the reason she is denied family, she raised and loved 6 infants who were all bought into the Circus then sold on or died, she had 5 permanent adult sisters who again were sold or died and she met many other females on shared journeys - she is no different to all the other elephants we know of, financially support and love; they have family, she should too). When Longleat changed their plans, Anne could have gone to ZSL Whipsnade then. Now Whipsnade have a much improved PC enclosure and 30 acres, she should be allowed to go there now, there's enough space for her to have safety separation fencing in the enclosure and in the outdoor paddock and downlands, she could take her own time to integrate.

-ANNE HAS A POOL, BUT NEVER GOES IN.... IT IS A CONCRETE POOL! ELEPHANTS LOVE TO BATHE AND AFTERWARDS THROW MUD ON THEIR SKIN.... WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE POOL? WHY NOT MAKE CHANGES, SO THAT SHE CAN TAKE A BATH WHENEVER SHE WANTS? WHY NOT INSTALL SPRINKLERS?

- YOU RECEIVED A LOT OF MONEY FROM DONATIONS. WHERE DID IT GO TO? HOW MUCH HAVE YOU SPEND TO CREATE A REAL ELEPHANT HAVEN FOR ANNE? UNTILL NOW THIS IS A JOKE, A LIE, FRAUDE.... 

Anne needs our voice again!

We demand that: - Specialist Wildlife Services (SWS), Anne's owners, and Longleat Safari & Adventure Park, Anne's keepers, both members of the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) provide Anne with elephant company immediately.

- British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) and it's Elephant Welfare Group (BIAZA/EWG) to which it delegated elephant affairs, act upon their Terms of Reference number 1: "To take vigorous and concerted action to ensure that UK collections maintain their elephants to the highest standards…" and provide Anne with elephant company immediately.

- The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) enforce their rules & regulations as put in the Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice "The routine and prolonged separation of elephant cows is unacceptable…" and in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 "makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of their animals are met" and see to it that Anne gets elephant company immediately.

First of all, I wish to acknowledge that this petition stands in a long line of actions for Anne. Seven years ago, thousands upon thousands of people stood up for Anne after they saw her being beaten. Animal Welfare Organisations have fought hard for her wellbeing, sometimes for over decades. Apparently it takes this much of an effort to improve one elephant's miserable life.

What happened? Five years ago plans were clear Her rescue started out well. Specialist Wildlife Services (SWS) took over ownership and for the time being she was placed in Longleat Safari & Adventure Park. Good intentions were soaring. Promises were made. Plans to create an elephant sanctuary plus elephant company for Anne. The whole idea was that after five decades of use and abuse, this deprived elephant, imported from Sri Lanka as a calf and used in the circus ever since, would get a second chance at life. Anne, who at that time already had been alone for 9 years since her circus-companions died in the winter of 2001-2, would again have her basic need for elephant company fulfilled. Plans and intentions were so convincing that the public enthusiastically donated a whopping GBP 400.000 to enable them.

Seven years have passed and still no elephant companionship To many people's dismay, plans for a sanctuary were modified into a "haven" for Ann, a facility which "in the long term is available potentially for other animals" as Longleat has no wish to continue with elephants after Anne dies. Anne got this haven after a wait of four years in her old inappropriate housing, before she finally could move in Feb. 5 2015. With vet care and all, her physical needs were addressed. We thank Longleat for that, and all parties involved. But what about her social needs, innate to this extremely intelligent and social animal species? Yes, she got 3 goats for company that she doesn't interact with but no, to this date-

Anne did not get elephant company.

She enters her 15th winter alone, the 7th at Longleat.

It's against promises made. It's against EWG (BIAZA)'s Terms of Reference number 1: "To take vigorous and concerted action to ensure that UK collections maintain their elephants to the highest standards…" It's against Government Rules & Regulations. Section 8.8.4 of DEFRA's Secretary of State's Standards of Modern Zoo Practice : "Female elephants must have social contact with other elephants at all times. Ideally a group should contain at least four cows over two years old, and have unrestricted access to each other not less than 16 hours in any 24 hour period. The routine and prolonged separation of cows is unacceptable and zoos should keep records of such periods, the reasons for this separation, the action being taken to re-introduce these elephants and the timeframe for doing so. Such records should be made available to zoo inspectors upon request." Noteworthy is a statement from Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary, in an appendix to a letter of 20 December, 2011 "I should say that such is my concern about the welfare of elephants in UK zoos, that I have not ruled out the option of looking at the scope for phasing out the keeping of elephants in the UK in the future if there is little or no evidence of improved welfare."

So, why did Anne never get elephant company? A 'secret deal' In the light of all this, how come Anne never got elephant company? Well, it was decided in what can be considered a secret deal. In February 2014 Longleat hosted a two day meeting of global elephant experts. There and then it was decided that Anne could not be moved and was going to stay on Longleat for the rest of her life. And she would be kept solitary. This news, posted on the Longleat Facebook page, immediately caused an uproar. People were appalled. What experts would overrule the basic need of elephant cows? Longleat was pressed again and again to disclose the identity of the experts, but refuses to this date. So there is no telling if delegates of the Government/DEFRA, and of BIAZA/EWG have been present to see to it that the Law was obeyed or the Rules of zoo elephant management were implemented. That FB post is gone, but Longleat has a statement on their website "Companionship for Anne". In addition to that Bob Montgomery, CEO of Longleat safari park, says on BBC News, 5 March, 2014 "Elephants are social animals but that becomes much more subjective when you're talking about an older elephant" "And unless we are able to find a suitable companion - right age, right temperament - the concern would be that the wrong companion would do more harm then good."

I STONGLY DISAGREE.

No to Mr. Montgomery. Elephant experts all over the world would confirm that female elephants' craving for elephant company does not diminish by age. Nothing subjective about that.

Anne can be moved. Longleat state that Anne cannot be moved "We can say for definite that Anne simply does not have the physical capacity to be moved and she will end her days at Longleat." - I disagree: In general, in the Western world the abilities of elephants are underestimated. Again and again elephants that are deemed old or physically compromised have been moved successfully against serious concerns of the zoos that wished to keep them where they were. See Maggie who was flown in a cargo jet from Alaska to California in 2007. And more recently, in 2013, the transportation of severely arthritic Iringa as part of the "Toronto Three" in a three-day journey of nearly 3000 miles to California. In Asia, several severely compromised elephants, some over 70 years of age, are trucked for a day or more to Sanctuary. All make it in good order.

An alternative as Longleat doesn't want to bring in company for Anne. Because after she dies there are that other elephants and "We feel it is important not to continue perpetuating the keeping of captive elephants here at Longleat … we need to plan to end the keeping of elephants at Longleat." - I say: if that is the case, move Anne to another facility.

What does it take to provide Anne with elephant company?

1. Other elephants. That could be elephant Kate of Blackpool Zoo who is alone since her companion died in January 2015. Or Anne can be moved to a zoo with elephants. (Or, if it were ready by now, to "Elephant Haven" in France, the first elephant sanctuary in Europe - please donate to help build Elephant Haven).

2. Effort & creative thinking. We encourage Anne's owner SWS and keeper Longleat, and all other parties around her, to be creative and make the effort to provide Anne with elephant company.

3. Enforcement of the rules & regulations . We call upon the Government/DEFRA and BIAZA/EWG to enforce their rules. "The routine and prolonged separation of cows is unacceptable…" Yes it is. So, please take action.

4. A possible move. As said above, I think Anne can be moved. Anne has been trucked to Longleat in a deplorable state. So now that her health has improved, it should be possible to move her to another place. Anne surprised her keepers before when she walked over to her new barn without a pause and in half of the time that was estimated. If necessary she could be stabilised in some way, perhaps the way elephants are stabilised on transport in Asia, with padded poles.

5. Necessary adaptation of her present 'haven' or another facility. A fencing could be built so Anne can interact with other elephants without the possibility that she is pushed over, or gets injured otherwise. Company for a female elephant is such a deep need, that even interaction over a fence is better than nothing.

6. Budget. As for necessary budget, be it for adaptations to the housing or for transport: we believe it should be provided for by the party/parties who received the public's 400.000 gift for sanctuary and elephant companionship for Anne, as the money was earmarked for just that. It was not given so Longleat could build themselves a multipurpose barn that they plan to use for other animals after Anne's death. Longleat could also feel they owe Ann something. Taking her in, boosted their revenue (an 11 % increase by the end of 2011 in times of a financial crisis) or what else would have made this increase happen? And it boosted their image (that got a blow after a much criticized lion cull). Plus one could say, when it is possible to renovate Longleat House for many millions, some budget for Anne could be considered pocket-money.

UK, be the first! If UK Government/DEFRA, BIAZA/EWG, and all parties involved, succeeded in dealing with it's two solitary elephants Anne and Kate in an imaginative way, it would set an example for the rest of Europe, where near to 40 elephants languish in solitude against all rules and regulations. It would be a first! Imagine that!

Update #12 years ago
Please keep signing and sharing as Anne still lives alone at Longleat: The 7th lonely winter. We will not give up on you, dear Anne.
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