Give lonely Anne the elephant a better life & allow her an independent welfare assessment.

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maria mossman
maria mossman signed this petition

Anne has lived as a solitary elephant at Longleat since 2011. Known as the UK's last circus elephant, she was rescued from the circus when Animal Defenders International (ADI) uncovered and publicised the abuse being inflicted on Anne by circus staff.  Anne was sent to Longleat Safari Park so she could be removed from her abusers quickly and be given veterinary care, but this was only meant to be a temporary arrangement, as Longleat did not have the correct facilities or trained staff to look after Anne's needs after her suffering so much mental and physical abuse.

A decade on, Anne still lives alone in her bleak enclosure, deprived of the company of her own kind and with no attention paid to her mental or emotional needs. She can be seen swaying, a stereotypical sign of distress and boredom in captive elephants who lack stimulation. There is the same dead tree stump and ball in her outdoor 'Haven' since 2015, and we ask why not one person in charge of her welfare has seen fit to change them in five years. Anne needs and deserves far more in the way of enrichment and novel activities to occupy her.

There is an outdoor pool which she doesn't use due to difficulties of access.  We also question why Anne does not have a hydro pool which would be such a help in easing the arthritis in her legs. A pool is not a luxury but a basic welfare provision which Longleat is failing to meet.

Longleat argue that Anne is too old and frail and disabled by her arthritis to be moved. We approached Longleat with an offer from a world leading expert on captive elephant care to come and see Anne, and they refused. This showed that contrary to their claim of acting in Anne's best interests, they are not interested in benefiting from the knowledge of experts who might help Anne, nor in having any independent assessment of her.

The Elephant Welfare Group's Position Statement on Lone Elephants in UK Zoos requires that 'Female elephants must have social contact with other elephants at all times'.  Longleat claim to look at re-homing options regularly, but at the same time maintain that Anne is not fit to be moved. Yet there are many rescues of elephants who were seriously sick and frail, and in cases much older than Anne, which involved long journeys to reach sanctuary, and we have seen time and again how these elephants begin to thrive and heal once among their own kind. Anne has outlived everyone's expectations and we ask that she be given this chance too.

We call on the people responsible for Anne’s well-being to allow independent assessments of her physical and mental health, to establish whether she is fit enough to be moved to join other elephants, and if so to actively pursue all options for such a move. We also call for much better enrichment and new activities to be provided for her, along with a pool that she can actually use; and for a hydro pool to ease her arthritis.

Please join our group AFEUK https://www.facebook.com/groups/AFEUK/  our web page https://actionforelephantsuk.org/ and follow ADI https://www.facebook.com/AnimalDefenders/