Stop transfer of Myanmar elephants to Japanese zoo, says Asia for Animals


(Featured image: Hanako, a wild-caught elephant at the Maruyama Zoo who passed away in 2007, at age 60. Credit saname777, CC BY 2.0)

Letter addressed to:

Mr. Katsuhiro Akimoto
Mayor of Sapporo City
Kita 1 Nishi 2,
Sapporo 060-8611

October 2016


Dear Mayor Akimoto,

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 Myanmar to Maruyama Zoo.

These elephants are currently living within an unrestricted environment in Myanmar where they have access to both captive and wild elephants in which they can interact and socialize. They also have access to natural forested areas where they are able to find their own food sources. Removing them from such unrestrictive conditions and placing them within the confines of Maruyama zoo will have serious consequences for their individual welfare.

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, with the average mean temperature falling below freezing for four months per year, could further worsen the welfare of these elephants.

Furthermore, 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.

We thereby respectfully urge you – on the grounds of animal welfare – to intervene, and kindly request your consideration to revoke the permission to import the four elephants to ensure they remain within their country of origin.

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:

State Chancellor Daw Aung Sann Suu Kyi
State Counselor of Myanmar
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Office No.9
Nay Pyi Taw

Koichi Yamamoto
Minister of the Environment,
Godochosha No.5
Kasumigaseki 1-2-2

Hiroshige Seko
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki
TOKYO 100-8901

CITES Management Authority
Office of Trade Licensing for Wild Animals and Plants
Trade Control Department
Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki
TOKYO 100-8901

CITES Scientific Authority
Wildlife Division
Ministry of the Environment
1-2-2 Kasumigaseki
TOKYO 100-8975

Dr Nyi Nyi Kyaw (DG-FD)
Director General
CITES Management Authority
Forest Department
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MoNREC)
Office N° 39,

U Win Naing Thaw
CITES Scientific Authority
Nature and Wildlife Conservation Division
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MoNREC)
Forest Department
Building N°. 39

Osamu Kato
Maruyama Zoo
Hokkaido Prefecture 064-0959

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

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


Supported by:


  1. “We Are One Family” Charity Association of Chongqing Normal University 重庆师范大学“天下一家”公益协会, CHINA
  2. AAP Rescue Centre for Exotic Animals, NETHERLANDS
  3. All Life In A Viable Environment, JAPAN
  4. Andhra Pradesh Goshalala Federation, INDIA
  5. Anima, MACAU
  6. Animal Earth, HONG KONG
  7. Animal Friends, CROATIA
  8. Animal Friends Niigata, JAPAN
  9. Animal Hero, USA
  10. Animal Nepal   , NEPAL
  11. Animal Projects & Environmental Education , MALAYSIA
  12. Animal Protection Network, SWEDEN
  13. Animal Rights Action Network, IRELAND
  14. Animal Rights Centre Japan, JAPAN
  15. Animal Rights Committee of Georgia, GEORGIA
  16. Animal Sanctuary Trust, INDONESIA
  17. Animals Australia, AUSTRALIA
  18. ARK Animal Refuge Kansai Japan, JAPAN
  19. Australia for Dolphins, AUSTRALIA
  20. Australians for Animals, AUSTRALIA
  21. Bali Animal Welfare Association, INDONESIA
  22. Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS), INDONESIA
  23. Beauty Without Cruelty, INDIA
  24. Behavioural & Environmental Solutions, USA
  25. Beijing Pet Adoption Day 北京领养日, CHINA
  26. Beijing Sunflower Friends of Animal Team 北京市向日葵动物之友志愿者团队, CHINA
  27. Bharatiya Prani Mitra Sangh, Hyderabad, INDIA
  28. Big Heart Foundation, RUSSIA
  29. Blue Cross of Hyderabad, INDIA
  30. Blue Cross Youth Seva Sangham – Andhra Pradesh, INDIA
  31. British Hen Welfare Trust, UK
  32. Captive Animal Protection Society, UK
  33. CARA Wildlife Philippines, PHILIPPINES
  34. Cat Welfare Society, SINGAPORE
  35. Causes for Animals Ltd, SINGAPORE
  36. Cee4life, AUSTRALIA
  37. Centre for Orangutan Protection, INDONESIA
  38. Changchun 3.10 Shanxiao Fund 长春3.10善小基金, CHINA
  39. Changsha Small Animal Protection Association 长沙市小动物保护协会 , CHINA
  40. Chengde Cat Forest 承德猫咪森林流浪猫救助团队, CHINA
  41. Chengdu Home of Love Small Animal Rescue Center 成都市双流县爱之家动物救助中心, CHINA
  42. China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, CHINA
  43. China Farm Animal Protection Coalition中国农场动物保护联盟, CHINA
  44. China Journalists Salon for Animal Protection中国动物保护记者沙龙, CHINA
  45. China Youth Animal Protection Alliance 中国青年动物保护联盟, CHINA
  46. China Zoo Watch, CHINA
  47. Compassion Unlimited Plus Action, Bangalore, INDIA
  48. Compassion Works International, USA
  49. CPR Environmental Education Centre, INDIA
  50. Dalian VSHINE Protection of Animals SPCA大连市微善爱护动物协会, CHINA
  51. Darjeeling Animal Shelter, INDIA
  52. David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, UK
  53. Djurens Ratt (Animals Right Sweden), SWEDEN
  54. Djurskyddet Sverige (Animal Welfare Sweden), SWEDEN
  55. Dobro Surtse, BULGARIA
  57. Dzivnieku Draugs, LATVIA
  58. Egyptian Society of Animal Friends, EGYPT
  59. Elemotion Foundation,
  60. Elephant Aid International, USA
  61. Elephant Asia Rescue & Survival Foundation, HONG KONG
  62. Elephant Care International, USA
  63. Elephants DC, USA
  64. ElephantVoices, KENYA
  65. Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali – Onlus, ITALY
  66. Environment Films, UK
  67. European Animal Protection Foundation / Europaeische Tierschutzstiftung, SWITZERLAND
  69. Fanciers Nanning Stray Cats 南宁流浪猫论坛, CHINA
  70. Finnish Federation for Animal Welfare Organisations (SEY), FINLAND
  71. Four Paws (UK), UK
  72. Four Paws International, INTERNATIONAL
  73. Friends of Asian Elephant – Asian Conservation Alliance, THAILAND
  74. Friends of the Earth Malaysia, MALAYSIA
  75. Fuzhou Aixinyuan Stray Animal Rescue Center 福州爱心缘流浪动物救助中心, CHINA
  76. Fuzhou Small Animal Protection Center  福州小动物保护中心, CHINA
  77. GAIA (Voice of the Voiceless), BELGIUM
  78. Gansu Green Volunteer Home 甘肃绿色志愿者之家, CHINA
  79. GREY2K USA Worldwide, USA
  80. Greyhound Compassion, UK
  81. Guangdong the Best Volunteer Center首善广东志愿者中心, CHINA
  82. Guangyuan Bo’ai Animal Protection Center 广元市博爱动物保护中心, CHINA
  83. Guangzhou Cat -Xi Xi Forest 熙熙森林广州猫, CHINA
  84. Hefei Kennel Association Care Center合肥犬业协会小动物关怀中心, CHINA
  85. Help Animals India, INDIA
  86. Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust, UK
  87. HK Dolphin Conservation Society, HK
  88. Huhhot Angel Guardian呼和浩特天使守护动物保护公益团队,
  89. Iceland Animal Welfare Foundation, ICELAND
  90. In Defence of Animals, India, INDIA
  91. International Anti-Fur Coalition, ISRAEL
  92. International Otter Survival Fund, UK
  93. International Primate Protection League, INTERNATIONAL
  94. Jakarta Animal Aid, INDONESIA
  95. Japan Anti-Vivisection Association, JAPAN
  96. JBF India Trust, INDIA
  97. Jinan Cattery济南猫窝, CHINA
  98. Karuna Society for Animals & Nature, INDIA
  99. Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre, NEPAL
  100. Korea Animal Rights Advocate, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
  101. Korean Animal Protection , KOREA
  102. Korean Animal Welfare Association, REPUBLIC OF KOREA
  103. Lanta Animal Welfare, HONG KONG
  104. Lanzhou Street Animal Rescue Station 兰州流浪动物救助站, CHINA
  105. Life Conservationist Association, TAIWAN
  106. Lifelong Animal Protection, HONG KONG
  107. Light of Life Veterinary Clinic, SINGAPORE
  108. Love Wildlife Foundation, THAILAND
  109. Lucky Cats幸运土猫志愿者团体, CHINA
  110. Marine Connection, UK
  111. MelbournDolphin, AUSTRALIA
  112., KOREA
  113. Nanchang Small Animal Protection Association 南昌小动物保护协会, CHINA
  114. Nanjing Ping An A Fu Stray Animal Rescue Association   南京平安阿福流浪动物救助会, CHINA
  115. National Council of SPCAs, SOUTH AFRICA
  116. Navale Consulting Group, INDIA
  117. Nyclass, USA
  118. OceanCare, SWITZERLAND
  119. Orangutan Aid, HONG KONG
  120. Orangutan Foundation, UK
  121. Palawan Animal Welfare Association, PHILIPINNES
  122. Patrick George, UK
  123. PAWS & THANE SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), INDIA
  124. People For Animals – Chennai, INDIA
  125. People For Animals – Hooghly, INDIA
  126. Performing Animal Welfare Society, USA
  127. Pet Orphans Home汪汪喵呜孤儿院, CHINA
  128. PETA Asia 亚洲善待动物组织, HONG KONG
  129. Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society, CAMBODIA
  130. Plant & Animal Welfare Society, INDIA
  131. ProWildlife e.V., GERMANY
  132. Qingdao Society for the Protection of Animals 青岛爱护动物协会, CHINA
  133. RAKSHA – Voice of the Voiceless, INDIA
  134. Rattle the Cage Productions, THAILAND
  135. Royal Veterinary College, University of London, Hong Kong, HONG KONG
  136. RSPCA Victoria, AUSTRALIA
  137. Sahabat Alam (Friends of the Earth) Malaysia, MALAYSIA
  138. Sahayog Organisation, Andhra Pradesh Goshalala Federation, Hyderabad, INDIA
  139. SAI (Save Animals Initiative) Sanctuary Trust, INDIA
  140. Scorpion Foundation, INDONESIA
  141. Shandong Yantai Caring Street Animals Rescue Shelter 山东省烟台市爱心流浪动物救助收容中心, CHINA
  142. Sichuan Qiming Companion Animal Protection Center四川省启明小动物保护中心, CHINA
  143. SJZ One Meter More Love stray cats rescue group石家庄一米爱流浪猫救助团队, CHINA
  144. Society for Animal Welfare and Management, NEPAL
  145. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Penang, PENANG
  146. Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Singapore, SINGAPORE
  147. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Xiangzhou, Zhuhai) 珠海市香洲区爱护动物协会, CHINA
  148. Soi Dog Foundation, THAILAND
  149. Stray Relief and Animal Welfare, INDIA
  150. Sun Bear Centre – Kalimantan, INDONESIA
  151. Swiss Animal Protection SAP / Schweizer Tierschutz STS / Protection Suisse des Animaux PSA , SWITZERLAND
  152. Taiwan SPCA台灣防止虐待動物協會, TAIWAN
  153. Thai Fund for Elephant Foundation, THAILAND
  154. THANE Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, INDIA
  155. The Cattitude Trust – Chennai, INDIA
  156. The Corbett Foundation, INDIA
  157. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, KENYA
  159. The Fur Undergound, ISRAEL
  160. The Home of Love (The Salvation Centre of Animals), CHINA
  161. The Humane Education Trust, SOUTH AFRICA
  162. The Kerulos Centre, USA
  163. The Welfare of Stray Dogs – Mumbai, INDIA
  164. The Winsome Constance Kindness Trust, AUSTRALIA
  165. Tianjin Common Home中国天津共同家园, CHINA
  166. Together for Animals in China 与牠同行动物福利促进协会, CHINA
  167. United Against Elephant Polo, INDIA
  168. Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue, VIETNAM
  169. Voice for Zoo Animals, JAPAN
  170. Wild Futures, UK
  171. Wildlife Alliance, CAMBODIA
  172. Wildlife in Need (and Active Environments), PHILIPPINES
  173. Wildlife Protection Society of India, INDIA
  174. Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre, Bangalore, INDIA
  175. Wolf Watch UK, UK
  176. Working for Animals , AUSTRALIA
  177. World Horse Welfare, UK
  178. Wuhan Small Animal Protection Association武汉市小动物保护协会, CHINA
  179. Xi’an Grenadine Companion Animal Rescue Center 西安红石榴伴侣动物救助中心, CHINA
  180. Xiamen Animal Protection Education Association厦门爱护动物教育专业委员会, CHINA
  181. Xiamen Pet Web 厦门宠物网, CHINA
  182. Xinjiang Karamay City Street Animal Protection Centre 新疆克拉玛依市流浪动物保护中心, CHINA
  183. Yangon Animal Shelter, MYANMAR-BURMA
  184. YeuDongVat, VIETNAM
  185. Zhangzhou Small Animal Scientifically Rescue Center 漳州市小动物科学养护救助中心, CHINA
  186. Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, ZIMBABWE
  187. Zoocheck Canada, CANADA
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About Author

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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