IDA: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

December 9th, 2007 2:44 pm by Kelly Garbato

Why, oh why, do I get the feeling that this post will see a disproportionate amount of traffic?*

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From: In Defense of Animals – takeaction [at] idausa.org
Date: Dec 7, 2007 6:48 PM
Subject: Urgent: Tell FWS to Reject Zoo’s Elephant Semen Import!

Urgent Action Alert: Help elephants by writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Deadline is this Monday, December 10!

The Woodland Park Zoo has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for an extension of its permit to import semen from a male Asian elephant named Rex at African Lion Safari in Canada for the purpose of artificially inseminating its female elephant, Chai. The Zoo is proceeding with the artificial insemination (AI) attempts despite the known risk that any baby born will contract the deadly elephant herpes virus, which in June claimed the life of Chai’s six-year old daughter Hansa.

The elephant herpesvirus causes death by massive internal hemorrhage and has claimed the lives of 10 elephants since 2000.

In addition to the loss of her daughter, Chai has endured four failed artificial insemination attempts to date. The procedure is highly invasive; elephants are restrained for several hours at a time while veterinarians pass an endoscope through their entire reproductive tract into the uterus.

In their zeal to produce a baby elephant (which always increases zoo attendance), Woodland Park Zoo officials are willing to subject any offspring produced to the significant risks of contracting this deadly virus, and to force the mother, Chai, to endure the anguish of watching another baby die a terrible death.

In order to import the semen from this endangered Asian elephant, the Zoo needs to get an extension of permits it has previously secured through FWS under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Please write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and tell them to reject the Woodland Park Zoo’s application because:

– The import will be detrimental to the survival of the species due to risk of the deadly elephant herpesvirus.

– The import will have no ramification for the survival of elephants in the wild. (No elephant born at the Woodland Park Zoo will be returned to the wild.)

The deadline for public comments is December 10 so time is of the essence!
Fax your comments to 703-358-2281

Sample Letter:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Division of Management Authority
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 700
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Fax Number: 703-358-2281

RE: EXTENSION OF WOODLAND PARK ZOO CITES PERMIT US108484/9

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to urge you to reject the Woodland Park Zoo’s application for an extension of its permit to import semen from an Asian elephant in Canada for the purpose of artificially inseminating a female elephant named Chai. (PRT-108484)

The applicants cannot demonstrate that the proposed activity meets the requirements for import of biological samples from an endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), as follows:

– The import will be detrimental to the survival of the species due to the risk of infection with the deadly elephant herpesvirus. The Zoo recently has admitted there is a one in five chance of an elephant contracting (and potentially spreading) the deadly virus.

– Young elephants are known to be especially at risk. In June, Chai’s six-year old daughter died from a previously undiscovered form of the virus.

– The import will not enhance the survival of the species in the wild as no elephant born at this Seattle zoo will be returned to the wild. A small annual contribution to an Asian elephant awareness project in Sri Lanka is not sufficient justification for this import. In fact, the donation can be made by the zoo regardless of whether this sperm is imported.

– The import is actually detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild because it diverts substantial funds away from direct conservation programs (that save elephants where elephants live) to thus-far unsuccessful artificial insemination attempts.

– The import is a commercial venture — the quest to produce baby elephants is spurred by the fact that these animals drive the gate, increasing zoo attendance and revenue.

For these reasons, an extension of the Woodland Park Zoo’s permit to import semen from an Asian male elephant in Canada is not justified and should be rejected.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

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About IDA

In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi and Cameroon, Africa.

In Defense of Animals 3010 Kerner Blvd., San Rafael, California 94901 – P: (415) 388-9641 F: (415) 388-0388

email: idainfo [at] idausa.org

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* Note to all perverts: contacts the FWS as directed. It’s the least you can do!

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