Statements of support for Anne going to sanctuary
Scott Blais (co-founder of Global Elephant Sanctuary):
‘With the recent opening of Elephant Haven, I am writing to encourage the relocation of Anne the elephant, at the earliest convenience. It goes without saying we all hold gratitude to Longleat for receiving Anne, which permitted her removal from the circus. Under the care of Longleat, Anne’s physical condition has improved. There are indications of improved muscle tone, and based on video analysis, she appears to have increased mobility. Unfortunately, Anne remains with limited space and without companionship, both of which are fundamental for Anne’s continued recovery and rehabilitation.
One of the most distinct advantages of a prompt relocation to Elephant Haven is their ability to provide dedicated care for Anne. With more time to devote solely to Anne, Elephant Haven will encourage a higher level of activity and exploration and initiate intensive therapy to further elevate her physical recovery. Solitary elephants are frequently under-stimulated, leading to a general disinterest in artificial enrichment items which can promote the degradation of physical health. Elephant Haven’s anticipation of additional residents and expandable habitats further amplifies the quality of life awaiting Anne.
Caring for older elephants, as with geriatric care for any species, requires near-constant adjustments to diet, supportive supplementation, medical regimens, and an exacting level of attention to subtle shifts and changes. Sanctuaries, by design, exist to provide the nuanced, detailed, and personalized care required to ensure optimal health and comfort of aging individuals. As a final measure before the arrival of elephants, Elephant Haven is preparing emergency response supplies and protocols to ensure rapid response to foreseen and unforeseen medical crises.
Based on our review of current videos provided and Anne’s history of traveling with circuses, we believe that Anne will tolerate this relatively short transfer with relative ease.
To ensure the highest degree of success, our team’s elephant transport specialist has initiated discussions with Elephant Haven and will remain available for consultation throughout Anne’s transfer. Although the consideration of elephant transport is daunting, the elephants, even those who have not traveled in decades, adjust, adapt, and tolerate the journey with remarkable ease.
To provide Anne with the opportunity to live with others of her own kind and to ensure that she will receive the highest level of personalized and specialized care, we strongly urge her relocation at the earliest opportunity.’
Robin Vitulle (co-founder of FACE – Free All Captive Elephants):
‘As co-founder of Free All Captive Elephants (FACE), a US-based organization, I support the call to allow Anne the chance to go to sanctuary, now that she has an offer from Elephant Haven, France. She deserves to live out the remainder of her life in an environment that most closely resembles the wild.
Forced to exist in captivity until this day, Anne needs and deserves what Elephant Haven can provide. The warmer climate will help her arthritis and she will finally have the chance to be with other elephants. It is likely you have heard every possible plea from across the globe from those who care about and love Anne. Certainly, you too want the best possible life for Anne, and I hope that now you will throw your full support behind this opportunity.
Right now, all humans are experiencing the isolation and desperation of feeling and being alone because of Covid-19. Although we long for the company of others, we are not permitted to be with those we love the most. In this isolation we are experiencing dangerous mental and physical health issues and an increase in suicides. Isolation and separation take a devastating toll on humans. It’s no different for elephants, who need the company of their own kind to thrive, yet are forced by humans to suffer this isolation for sometimes their entire lives. We don’t believe Anne should be doomed to such a fate now that she has a chance for a happy ending.
Anne’s isolation is made worse by the bleakness of her environment, devoid of stimulation and proper enrichment. She presents the tell-tale stereotypical behavior associated with stress and dysfunction, such as swaying and listlessness. No one can doubt how much she has and continues to suffer. She has spent a lifetime on display in deplorable conditions to satisfy the ignorance and entertainment of humans. She lost all her elephant companions and has not seen another elephant for 19 years.
The world is watching and urging you to begin the process to let Anne move to Elephant Haven, starting with an independent assessment by elephant experts. If she is fit enough to travel, there can be no reason for not allowing her to go. We know you want only the best possible life for her and expect you will seize this chance to send her to sanctuary, where she can truly heal and begin living as an elephant for the first time in her life.’
Mark Hiley (co-founder, National Park Rescue):
‘I head our ranger force, protecting wild elephants and other wildlife on the frontline in Africa’s most-poached National Parks. As such, I spend a lot of time with elephants in their natural habitat and over the years I’ve come to view that there’s something even worse than the armed poachers we capture: those who inflict prolonged mental torture on highly intelligent beings for the sake of entertainment.
Elephants have brains four times the size of ours, they cry salt tears, mourn their dead, carry out ceremonies, undertake epic migration journeys, and will deliberately run into automatic gun fire to try to save their young from poachers. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg and we are only now beginning to decipher the complexity of the biggest brain on earth. Much of our legal framework is Victorian and lags far behind our understanding of the natural world, which the pandemic has highlighted. The welfare of captive elephants cannot therefore be judged by their captors’ compliance with legislation. Just as it is legal to destroy rainforests for profit, it is still legal to display confined wildlife for profit, but the shortcomings of legislation does not exonerate the crimes against nature being committed by those who do it.
The management of Longleat need to wake up to the fact that the world has changed. Your people everywhere are leading the charge against cruelty and the abuse of nature. Let me be clear: Longleat is a glorified zoo and, by blocking Anne the Elephant’s path to an offer from a sanctuary, its management are directly causing unnecessary suffering and denying this intelligent being a happy end to a tragic life story of cruelty, exploitation, and pain.
With the 10 year anniversary of her solitary confinement at Longleat approaching, and a petition which has already gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures, the campaign for her release is quickly gaining traction. My hope is that Longleat’s management do the right thing and heed the call of conservationists, international celebrities, the media and young people everywhere.’
Dr Niall McCann (co-founder, National Park Rescue):
‘There are some potential concerns around Anne’s health if she is moved, but I think the most important consideration has to be her mental health and her mental wellbeing. Elephants are extraordinarily intelligent, they are very, very emotional, they are very sociable beings, and it’s her mental wellbeing that I think should be at the forefront of this decision.’
‘It’s unnatural and cruel for a highly intelligent, social female elephant to be confined alone, and Anne has been on her own for 19 years. Listless and dejected, she has nothing to enrich or stimulate her – her life is one of uninterrupted monotony. It’s time now for Longleat to do the right thing and release her to sanctuary, where she will have all her needs met and can finally live among other elephants, as nature intended.’
Open letter from the Pro Elephant Network in support of Anne
Not least is the enormous support from the public, from advocates and other groups (over 400,000 have signed the petitions). Momentum has grown for Anne’s release to sanctuary, and it’s time for Longleat to take action to allow this to happen. There is no good reason for her not to be assessed for travel to the sanctuary, where she can finally live as an elephant for the first time in her life.
If you agree that Anne deserves to live freely after 6 decades of captivity, abuse, and suffering, please sign both petitions below to urge Longleat to do the right thing.
Take action for Anne!
Please sign these petitions and share them:
Give lonely Anne the elephant a better life & allow her an independent welfare assessment
Transfer lonely Anne from Longleat to Elephant Haven, to be with companions [petition closed]
* Tweet for Anne! * Anne the solitary elephant at @Longleat hasn’t seen another elephant for 20 years. Now she has an offer of sanctuary at @elephanthaven, where she can live as an elephant at last. Longleat, please allow an independent vet to check her fitness to travel & allow her to go. #FreeAnne