The Animal Party is due to hold a protest at Larnaca airport around 8pm on Saturday night at the time two young female elephants from Bangladesh which have been acquired by Paphos Zoo, are due to arrive on the island.
In a statement issued earlier on Saturday, the party challenges the state’s approval of the enclosure for the elephants, claiming that checks were only carried out a few days ago and that their estimations were wrong. “Their tape measure must be faulty,” said the statement.
Both the Animal Party and the Green Party issued separate announcements asking the authorities to revoke any licences obtained for the arrival of the animals and questioned whether all measures were taken to ensure their living conditions were up to standards.
State authorities, however, have stressed that Paphos Zoo has obtained all licences for the two young elephants and expressed their satisfaction with the enclosure.
Zoo owner Christos Christoforou said the two elephants, four-year old Bono Rani and five-year old Shova Rani have been accompanied on their long journey by their keepers and a veterinarian.
The head of the agriculture ministry’s environment service, Costas Hadjipanayiotou, told the Cyprus Mail they had given the vet services the green light to grant permission to the zoo because all requirements were met.
“Their paperwork is in order, and we also had to make sure whether the two elephants, which arrived from a third country, are captive breeding,” Hadjipanayiotou said.
He added that they found their enclosure at the zoo satisfactory.
The Animal Party has argued that elephants, as heterothermic animals, meaning they regulate their body temperature by storing heat during daytime and gradually losing it during the cool of the night, need the right conditions to do that without suffering stress.
Paphos they argued is a very humid place and the elephants might not be able to cool off properly.
The Green Party said they were against the exploitation of the elephants as a tourist attraction.
But Christoforou said that their enclosure – at 1,000m² – meets all requirements. It also has a pool so that the elephants can stay cool.