Tierbotschafter Newsletter, April 2020. Interim report by Brigitte U Kornetzky, Elefanten in Not
According to the study of Elefanten in Not, Jan 2020, nine out of ten elephants infected with tuberculosis were identified. Every day, these elephants have to carry tourists up and down at AmberFort in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which we find scandalous. It is not enough that the animals are exploited and enslaved, they still have to work when they are infected with serious diseases. The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has already tested ten elephants with micro-bacteria tuberculosis positive in its 2018 report based on Where the Elephant Sleeps (Release 2016) and the tuberculosis occurrences indicated in it. The AWBI's further instructions regarding the quarantine of these elephants and mahouts from 2018 were not followed.
Well, two years later, Feb 2020, we seem to be a big step further.
While the Forest Department in Jaipur was absolutely incapable of acting regarding the foot care agreed with me i.e. my organisation Elefanten in Not, and canceled the foot care for about 80-100 elephants one day before the start, - this also because of the non-cooperative elephant owners threatening revolts-, we took the opportunity to do incognito research on the infected elephants.
We could identify nine out of ten tuberculosis-infected elephants walking up to Amer Fort with tourists on their backs. (The riding numbers at the end of the text)
Based on our evidence, the Supreme Court of India convened a special session on March 6 and heard our petition about the new findings in a hearing in conjunction with the main petitioner PETA India. The Supreme Court then ordered a medical examination of the elephants infected with mtb until early June.
However, the corona pandemic broke out almost at the same time, which means that the elephant's tourist rides on AmberFort in Jaipur were stopped anyway. What no G5 summit in the world and no court orders or NGOs have been able to achieve for decades, a virus has done it! An extremely desirable fact that this painful tourist rides on elephants have finally come to an end. It is reasonable to assume that the tourist business will have suffered major losses due to the corona pandemic, which may have a positive impact on future tourist rides with elephants in Jaipur and throughout Asia. But the question arises, what to do with the "unemployed“, captive elephants when there are no camps and the supply situation for the elephants in India is already miserable? About 250 kg of feed per elephant / day, and at least as much water!
The corona pandemic presents us with new tasks that we have not only been fighting for since the pandemic had started, but now its shaping up clearly. Once assumed that 75% of all infectious diseases are so-called zoonoses, i.e. they are transmitted from wild animals to humans, we should NOW at the latest realize once again that in the long term the PROTECTION OF THE HABITAT OF WILD ANIMALS MUST HAVE TOP PRIORITY, just as we need rescue and rehabilitation centers for the elephants. Discussions with the relevant authorities in India are on the way.
While the world of people holds their breath and is largely "locked out", animals in all countries of Asia and the states of India walking freely the empty streets. They have to be cared for, be it street dogs, cows or zoo animals. The population of India is requested by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to continue feeding the animals. The CZA has also called on the governments of all countries in India to include this supply in the "essential supply" category. Because the zoos across the country are facing feed and general supply problems, including medical care by veterinarians, since this care is not one of the essential supplies during the pandemic; this especially applies for wild animals with gigantic feed requirements, such as tigers, leopards, lions, jaguars, crocodiles, and the herbivores giraffes and elephants. Animals behind bars must be saved from starvation.
Together with other Indian organisations, like WRRC and AngelEyes Jaipur, Elefanten in Not is pressing for emergency aid and, in the long term, for appropriate measures with a legal basis to ensure this supply for all future in pandemic emergencies of this extend.
Did we learn anything? Human behavior is actually always the cause of such pandemics.
When so-called wet-markets in Asia slaughter and hunt wild animals from far away, and bring them in with stressed immune systems weakened by the long transport route, it is no wonder that the same markets are also the soup kitchens of such pandemics. In these markets, people and animals are crowded together, and their body fluids are also excreted close together. The distributions of pathogens with high lethality could not be mixed in a better cocktail of diseases than in an Asian wet market, i.e. a market with illegal trade in the consumption and further processing of wild animals. Added to this is the high radioactivity of the areas irradiated with G5. The $ 18 billion dollar illegal wildlife trade, especially in China, with dark astronomical figures on tiger paws, pangolin scales, ivory or bear bile, snake venom, lizards, birds, etc., supplies these markets almost seamlessly and without interruptions, and is the source of this tremendous and bubbling potential hazard which is, by the way, constantly working to eradicate the species, including our own.
Over 100,000 elephants alone have lost their lives in the past 15 years due to the ivory trade.
Did we learn anything? I'm afraid this question will remain in the room.
It is not just about Animal Rights, it is about Human Wrongs!
We should consider Covid-19 a definitive warning shot TO END THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IMMEDIATELY.
Riding numbers of mtb-infected elephants
55, 64, 65, 71, 73, 76, 99, 110, 114, 133