BREAKING NEWS: Japanese media has just released disturbing footage of the final hours of Hiroko the solitary captive elephant's life, before she collapsed and died in 2018.
The disturbing video sheds new light on the exact circumstances of her death, which at the time her zoo claimed was a peaceful one.
After seeing the footage, a veteran elephant expert told us that Hiroko's situation was probably the worst he's ever witnessed. He added:
"The fact that the zoo assessed her physical condition and did not take action to provide extensive medical care is negligent and inhumane. Hiroko suffered due to the ignorance of the zoo staff, veterinarians, and directors. Clearly they loved her, but their lack of training and knowledge created a horrific experience. In situations like this one, there are always indications of emerging problems years prior to the tragedy that unfolded at the end of Hiroko's life."
Hiroko suffered from a debilitating foot disease that was so serious it led to her collapse and ultimate death. More upsetting is that she suffered for years, unnecessarily, because her zoo neglected their basic duties to pay attention to and care for her feet and overall health. We cannot imagine the days and years of foot pain Hiroko had to endure, not able to voice her pain. She should have been examined, treated and even humanely euthanized before it got to this point.
This is an undeserved punishment for an animal that is naturally highly intelligent and social. Elephants live up to 60-70 years, and are exceptionally social animals who have families and friends. They grieve their dead.
Hiroko lost her chance at a better life: BUT so her suffering wasn't in vain: WE MUST MAKE SURE THE ZOO NEVER GETS ANOTHER ELEPHANT AGAIN.
We demand that in the wake of Hiroko's death, the Tennōji Zoo in Osaka close down Hiroko's exhibit and tell us that they will not get another elephant to replace her. The Himeji City Zoo did so in 2021 after the death of their solitary elephant Himeko. The Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo did after the death of their solitary elephant Hanako in 2016 and is now officially an "elephant-free" zoo in Japan. Let's make this trend grow in Japan and elsewhere!
As you know, there is now a growing global debate about the keeping of elephants in captivity, with many experts taking the position that elephants should not be kept in traditional zoos at all. Nowhere is this debate more relevant than in the discussion about elephants kept in social isolation. While the zookeepers at the Tennōji Zoo may think they did their best for Hiroko, it is clearly evident that they are not sufficiently educated and trained for the job.
Thank you for making sure there will be no more "Hirokos" ever again at the Tennōji Zoo
Warning! This video shows disturbing and upsetting footage of Hiroko's last hours.
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6eh-lrnB6Q