The Animal Party on Friday called on Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis to order an administrative probe into the death of one of the two young female elephants from Bangladesh that arrived at Paphos zoo last year.
The head of the animal party Kyriacos Kyriacou told the Cyprus Mail that the elephant died about a month ago, but that they only found out on Thursday. The possible cause was bronchopneumonia, the party said adding that they were outraged as no one had paid attention to their warnings.
The two elephants, the then four-year old Bono Rani and five-year old Shova Rani were brought to the zoo last June from Bangladesh amid controversy, with the party and other animal welfare organisations against them being kept here, raising concerns over the island’s climate and their living conditions.
The party had said that the two new arrivals should not suffer the same fate as Julie, the elephant who died in Limassol zoo in 1998 due to being treated poorly. Elephants are heterothermic animals, the party had said, meaning they store heat in their body tissue during the day and must be able to release this heat to avoid chronic stress and illness. They had said that there was so much humidity in Paphos, and if the elephants were not able to release the heat it would cause them stress
Paphos zoo had rejected the concerns saying the elephants, who were accompanied on their long journey by their keeper and a veterinarian, would be very well taken care of. State authorities had said the zoo obtained all licences for the two young elephants and expressed their satisfaction with their enclosure.
“We express our bitterness and anger over the unexpected, unacceptable and unjust death of the elephant and we ask for those responsible for this tragedy to take responsibility,” the party announced. “We call on the agriculture minister to order an administrative enquiry”.
The party said it wanted the enquiry to check whether the elephants’ import papers are genuine, whether the animals’ living conditions were up to standard, and if an autopsy was carried out on the dead elephant as well as if all legal procedures were followed after the death of the animal and if authorities were informed.
“What will the fate be of the remaining elephant? We express our concerns that it might die from sadness,” it said expressing the opinion that in today’s digital age where children have an abundance of information on animals, there were no longer any excuses to cage the creatures.
The party said that it would not tolerate “the continuation of this macabre situation”, announcing the launch of its ‘EYES WIDE OPEN’ campaign against trafficking of large exotic animals.
“The premature death of the elephant might mark the end of trafficking of large exotic animals to Cyprus, for example a giraffe that stands on concrete or Siberian tigers that live in temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius,” the party said.
The state veterinary services, it said, will have to finally assume the “great responsibility they bear and put a stop to this shameful trade and business activity”.
Paphos zoo was not immediately available for comment.