Two elephants, Baby and Nepal — two former circus elephants that a French zoo was planning to euthanize after they tested positive for tuberculosis — will instead be spending the rest of their days on an estate on the Cote d’Azur owned by the royal family of Monaco.
by Kristina Chew
July 16, 2013
Yes, that is quite a change of fortune!
The Tete d’Or zoo in Lyon had found itself at the center of a huge public outcry after announcing last year that it would euthanize Baby and Nepal, aged 42 and 43, out of concerns that they might infect other animals.
Baby and Nepal had been entrusted to the Lyon zoo since 1999, after working for years with the Pinder Circus. They tested positive for tuberculosis in 2010 and were quarantined in January of 2011, along with Java, another elephant who had tested positive for the disease. Java died in August of 2012; after an autopsy, French officials said that tuberculosis was the cause of her death. The next day, the prefect of the Rhône region, Jean-François Carenco, signed a decree calling on the city of Lyon to euthanize Baby and Nepal within 30 days, out of fears for public health.
French actress Brigitte Bardot led the campaign to save the two elephants, threatening in January to apply for Russian citizenship if they were euthanized. About 200 people formed a human chain around the elephants’ enclosure “to save Baby and Nepal” and Monaco’s Princess Stephanie condemned the decision to kill them as “radical and irreversible.”
In February, France’s Supreme Administrative Court put a stop to the euthanasia of the elephants, on the grounds that there was “substantial doubt” about the legality of doing so, says German newspaper Der Spiegel.
Princess Stephanie then offered to take in Baby and Nepal and last week they boarded an air-conditioned trailer bound for the Roc Agel ranch, an estate owned by the Monaco royal family in southeastern France. The elephants’ new home is a nearly one-acre enclosure with a pool and wooden shed. A veterinarian who accompanied them on their journey said that, upon arrival, they showed signs of “well-being,” showering themselves with dust and humming softly.
Life in an enclosure in France is not exactly giving the elephants the freedom would have were they to be released in the wild. But certainly it is a relief to know that Baby and Nepal will not be needlessly killed. The call to euthanize them shows a real contrast between how some zoos in Europe and some in the U.S. address disease in animals.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/two-former-circus-elephants-spared-euthanasia-in-france.html#ixzz2ZIk47818