Can baby Nandi survive New Zealand

8 March 2016 01:57 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Is the ’jumbo’ deal worth it?

The practice of gifting elephants, as a symbol of strengthening diplomatic relations, has become common in Sri Lanka over the years.  The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who recently visited Sri Lanka, was gifted with a baby elephant Nandi, who is the second baby elephant bequeathed to New Zealand in the past 12 months, after baby Anjalee.  Anjalee was gifted to the Auckland zoo back in 2012. However, Animal Rights activists sparked anger over this gesture and complained that it was cruel to separate it from its family at such a tender age.  Speaking to the Daily Mirror, a few animal rights activists raised their concerns over this issue.

The elephant will be biologically dead: Jagath Gunawardena

Speaking to the , senior environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said that it was extremely inhuman to separate a baby elephant from its family. 
“Elephants are herd animals and once they are separated they get traumatised and are prone to contract other diseases and will face a lot of difficulties. 

 

"When a baby elephant is separated it is considered to be biologically dead, and it will not be able to mate. One important process in their life cycle is mating..."

 


“When a baby elephant is separated it is considered to be biologically dead, and it will not be able to mate. One important process in their life cycle is mating and once they are deprived of this, they will not have breeding opportunities. Therefore they will be subject to extinction,” he said.  “We do not know the logic behind this gifting of animals to other countries. The two elephants gifted were both females as well. If the country has good diplomatic relations with New Zealand, why should we gift an iconic animal like an elephant? 
“They could have planted some endemic tree in that country instead of gifting an innocent baby elephant. If we take other countries like China, their iconic animal is the Giant Panda. But we have never heard of any instance, when China gifted a Giant Panda to any other country. 
“The only time they gifted two Giant Pandas was in 1972 when Richard Nixon was serving as the President of the United States for the purpose of making them an ally.”

 

The gifting of the elephant was pre-planned: Harin Fernando

In addition to that there were rumours that Prime Minister Key has agreed to send the All Blacks coach Steve Hansen in exchange of Nandi. However, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure, Harin Fernando denied the allegations. 
“The gifting of the elephant was pre-planned. Also this discussion of requesting Steve Hansen to coach our team had taken place during the recently concluded Rugby World Cup. People could say anything but this is a false allegation,” he said. 

"This discussion of requesting Steve Hansen to coach our team had taken place during the recently concluded Rugby World Cup. "

 

These elephants are traumatised when in foreign countries : Sagarika Rajakarunanayake

In her comments Sagarika Rajakarunanayake, head of the Sathva Mithra (Friends of Animals) group said that elephants and other animals were considered as objects. 
“Back in the day Arahat Mahinda had mentioned that human beings were the caretaker of all animals, but not the owner. In the Western countries we have seen how animals are cruelly treated. It is only now that these countries are considering animals as sentient beings.  “Why is the State treating animals like objects? This is their country of birth and we have no right to separate them from their families,” Sagarika said. “How sure can we be that these elephants will remain in New Zealand or will be sent to other countries? They have zoos that are highly neglected and are not maintained at all. Once in a foreign land these elephants are traumatised and are left alone.  “All these problems happen to these animals. Baby ‘Nandi’ has a mother and a father at Pinnawala. A family is necessary in their lives and in their herd they have their aunts and uncles and that is how these elephants like to grow up. 
“If countries need to have good relations then they can do many other things rather than uprooting a baby elephant from its family. This elephant is only five years old. 
“I think we are carrying out a colonial practice. During colonial times the British and others used to send ship loads of animals to zoos back to their countries. But if we are proud of our heritage then the primary thing that we should do is to protect and respect our fauna. It is only if we respect other species and the environment will they protect us.”

"Arahat Mahinda had mentioned that human beings were the caretaker of all animals, but not the owner. In the Western countries we have seen how animals are cruelly treated. "

 

Elephants cannot survive in low temperatures: Ravindra Kariyawasam

Environmentalist and Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies, Ravindra Kariyawasam said that there was no protocol to exchange elephants across borders for diplomatic relations. 
“Asian elephants are bred in unique conditions, with temperatures between 25-300C and so on. But in countries such as New Zealand, temperatures at times become very low making it difficult for elephants to survive. 
“Out of the 4000 odd elephants that could be found in Sri Lanka today, only about 10% of them are tuskers. Due to the human-elephant conflict they are anyway in danger. The Government should abide by the regulations in the case of gifting baby elephants taken from jungles. “These politicians are working for the sake of it. They organised the blood ivory event in a grand scale, just to show that the country is against illegal trade, but we are doing exactly the 
same thing.”

"Asian elephants are bred in ...temperatures between 25-300C and so on. But in countries such as New Zealand, temperatures at times become very low..."

 

We actually don’t like to send elephants: Gamini Jayawickrama Perera


Speaking at an interview with the  Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that this was the result of an agreement, which was signed back in 2012.  “This agreement was signed among the Sri Lankan government, University of Auckland and the Auckland zoo and it was Basil Rajapaksa who played centre stage in this agreement.  “In exchange of these two baby elephants they will build up an elephant research centre here. When asked about Anjalee, who was sent to New Zealand in 2012, Mr. Perera said that now it has gained 700 pounds and that there are photos to prove that she is doing well.  Speaking further about the gifting of elephants he said that they didn’t like to send them. 
“We hope that they are looking after these animals well. Before sending these animals we have to get permission from CITES.”

 

"In exchange of these two baby elephants they will build up an elephant research centre here. When asked about Anjalee, who was sent to New Zealand in 2012..."

 

NZ takes animal welfare very seriously: NZ Ministry

When inquired about the plight of Nandi by the New Zealand authorities, the  received a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand.  The statement mentioned that New Zealand is honoured by the gift of Nandi, a second elephant, by Sri Lanka to Auckland Zoo, which was announced during Prime Minister Key’s recent visit to Sri Lanka.  “As Prime Minister Key said during his visit, Anjalee loves her life in New Zealand and we are sure Nandi will have a good time as well. New Zealand has a world-class animal welfare system and a very strong record and international reputation for our care of animals. Animals in zoos and farms are routinely inspected to check on their health and welfare.  “New Zealand takes animal welfare very seriously and there are very clear laws and guidelines for how animals should be treated. Additionally, New Zealand Government agencies are working with Auckland Zoo to ensure that Nandi’s transfer to New Zealand complies with international best-practice and New Zealand’s international obligations,” it said.

"New Zealand takes animal welfare very seriously and there are very clear laws and guidelines for how animals should be treated....."

 

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