LETTER: Asia for Animals Opposes Transfer of Zoo Elephants from Myanmar to Japan


(Featured image: working elephant in Myanmar. Photo credit @mopictures, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

April 2016


Mr. Akimoto Katsuhiro
Mayor of Sapporo City
Sapporo Chuo Kita 1jyo Nishi 2

札幌市長 秋元 克広 様


Dear Mayor Katsuhiro,


We are writing on behalf of the Asia for Animals coalition, representing international organisations with extensive knowledge of animal welfare issues, to voice our concerns surrounding the planned importation of four Asian elephants from Yangon Zoo in Myanmar to Maruyama Zoo in Sapporo City in 2018.

私共  Asia for Animals coalition は、動物福祉に関する広範囲な知見を有した国際的な組織の連合です。この度、札幌市が2018年に計画されているヤンゴン動物園からの4頭のアジアゾウ輸入について懸念を表明する次第です。

There are grave concerns regarding the impact an international relocation could have on the highly endangered Asian elephants’ welfare. The international travel would result in an enormous amount of stress which could have serious and lasting repercussions on their physical and psychological well-being. There are many well-documented cases of elephants dying during overseas transportation due to physical and psychological trauma.


Furthermore, there are grave concerns regarding whether Maruyama Zoo has the resources, expertise or facilities to provide adequate care for these elephants. It has been brought to our attention that the zoo plans to build a new facility to house the elephants, measuring just 2000 m2 (indoors) and 3000 m2 (outdoors). As you are aware, elephants are wide ranging species with complex behavioral and psychological needs and the size of the facility alone is wholly inadequate at managing these needs. In addition, there are concerns that the cold winter climate in Sapporo could further worsen the welfare of the animals.

さらに、円山動物園がこれら輸入予定のゾウたちに対して適切なケアを与えるだけのリソース、専門的技術あるいは施設を備えているのかどうかについても大きな懸念を持っています。当該動物園がこれらのゾウを飼養展示するにあたって建設を計画している新展示飼養舎が、わずか2000 m2 (屋内) および3000 m2 (屋外) であることも、大きな懸念材料です。ご存じのように、ゾウは行動上、心理上、複雑な必要事項を要求しかつ広範囲に活動する種であり、この新展示飼養舎のサイズはこうしたニーズに対応するには、全く不適切です。さらに、札幌市の冬の気候がゾウたちの福祉を悪化させる可能性にも、懸念を抱いております。

There is mounting international concern for the conservation of wild elephant populations, and for the welfare of animals kept in captivity. We are committed to working with our colleagues at Elephant Care International to improve the conditions for the elephants – and other animals – in Yangon Zoo so as to keep them in their native Myanmar and to minimise risks to the elephants’ health and welfare.

野生ゾウの保全に関して、また、飼育下における動物の福祉に関して国際的な関心が益々増大しております。私たちは、Elephant Care International において同僚と共にヤンゴン動物園で展示飼養されているゾウや他の動物たちの状況改善のために協働しており、ゾウたちの本来の生息地であるミャンマーに彼らを留め置き、ゾウたちの健康と福祉を損なうリスクを最小限にすることを目指しています。

We thereby respectfully urge you – on the grounds of animal welfare and conservation – to intervene, and kindly request your consideration to revoke the permission to import the four elephants from Myanmar to Sapporo City.

私共は動物の福祉と保全を根拠に、 ミャンマーから札幌市への4頭のゾウ輸入計画を撤回していただくことをご検討いただきたく、ここに心よりお願いする次第です。


Sent on behalf of the following organisations:


  1. Animal Guardians
  2. Animal People
  3. Animals Asia Foundation
  4. ACRES
  5. Blue Cross of India
  6. Change for Animals Foundation
  7. Earth Island Institute
  8. Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
  9. Humane Society International
  10. International Animal Rescue
  11. International Fund for Animal Welfare
  12. Philippine Animal Welfare Society
  13. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  14. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Hong Kong
  15. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Sarawak, Malaysia
  16. World Animal Protection


Copied to:

Maruyama Zoo
Hokkaido Prefecture 064-0959

札幌市円山動物園   園長 田中 俊成 様

Kazutoshi Arai
Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Vella Heights Okachimachi 402
4-23-10 Taito
Tokyo 110-8567

公益社団法人 日本動物園水族館協会 代表理事会長 荒井一利 様
〒110-8567 東京都台東区台東4-23-10 ヴェラハイツ御徒町402

Gerald Dick
Executive Director
WAZA Executive Office
IUCN Conservation Centre
Rue Mauverney 28
CH_1196 Gland

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The Asia For Animals (AfA) Coalition is composed of 16 well-known and respected animal welfare organisations that have a shared focus on improving the welfare of animals in Asia. We are committed to providing support to organisations to help with their campaigns to tackle some of the most pressing animal welfare concerns in the region. Click to see author's profile.

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