07/21/20 Elephant Lanka in Brijuni islands
Report received on June 10th, 2019.:
Dear Animal Friends,
I am contacting you with a specific inquiry because, perhaps wrongly, I was referred to you. I feel like you can help me, so I hope you understand why I'm addressing you.
The fact of the matter is an elephant named Lanka and her inappropriate living conditions at the so-called Safari zoo on the Veli Brijun Island.
On the Brijuni Islands, I was, perhaps wrongly, referred to you because it was allegedly you and your association who were trying to obtain better living conditions for Lanka. I apologize if I’m not contacting the right people.
I am contacting you to ask if there is something we could do to help poor Lanka. She is not well at all. After the loss of her life partner Soni a few years back, Lanka was left all alone trapped in an inappropriately small cage inside the Park.
In a small cage where she has lived since her arrival more than 40 years ago, there is no possibility for proper movement, and Lanka has visible psychological problems: she is seen walking in a small circle, banging her head on the cage bars, refusing to meet visitors... It seems that she needs help urgently; for starters, her cage could be made bigger, and she should be provided with water for daily bathing; getting the help she needs at least this way.
Why the management of the Brijuni National Park has not done this so far - I don't know, but for starters, she should at least get more space for moving about...
Another problem is that Lanka is alone in her cramped prison. I can't even imagine what kind of pain and suffering being in solitary confinement causes to such a social and sensitive animal, as elephants are.
I also have complaints about the living conditions and keeping of other animals, such as parrots, but Lanka really needs our help, as soon as possible...
I beg of you, this is my appeal for helping Lanka. If you are able to continue where you left off (if it indeed was your Association), I'm asking you that we do it. I am making myself available if you need someone who would contact the management of the Brijuni National Park here, on the spot, with your help and guidance.
Thank you in advance for any and all answers; I'm sincerely hoping I'm addressing the right people.
With a deep respect for everything you do,
Sent to the Veterinary Inspection at the State Inspectorate by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Veterinary inspection follow-up received on July 11th, 2019:
Subject: Response to the petition regarding the conditions and manner of keeping the elephant Lanka at the Safari park of the Brijuni National Park
On July 3rd, 2019, with a letter from the Head of the Veterinary Inspection Service, Class: 322-07119-0112478, Reg. No .: 443-03-0714-19-2, dated to July 2nd, 2019, your report was received (e-mail dated to June 10th, 2019), with the forwarded application of Ms. G. T. (e-mail dated to June 9th, 2019), about the difficult and worrying health condition of the elephant Lanka, kept for more than 40 years in a cramped space / small cage, in a safari park on the Veliki Brijun Island.
Based on the Veterinary Inspection Work Plan 2a2019., on July 9th, 2019, a detailed inspection of the safari park - a zoo of the Public Institution of the Brijuni National Park was made, entered in the official records under number HR-ZOO-004, (decision of the competent authority CLASS: UP / l-322-08111-011217, REGISTRATION NUMBER: 525-1010529-12-6 dated to June 4th, 2012). In relation to the prescribed requirements in the field of animal protection, the following has been determined:
Elephant Lanka, 47 years old, is located in the zoo - safari park of the PI of the Brijuni National Park, on the Veliki Brijun Island since 1974. The elephant is not kept in a "small cramped space - cage" as stated in the report but is kept in a fenced area of approx. 2000 m2. Within this enclosure, there are two spacious enclosed habitats, one for accommodation during the winter, (with heating), one covered and closed on three sides, for accommodation during the summer months. Inside the enclosure, there is a small pool that the elephant uses for cooling, which is regularly cleaned and maintained. During the summer months, in addition to the pool, the elephant is additionally cooled by spraying water several times a day. Inside the enclosure, there are objects that the elephant is interested in (wooden poles, balls). The objects with which the elephant plays are constructed so that food can be placed in them, which gradually falls out, as the elephant moves them with its trunk or legs. The elephant is fed several times a day, receiving a meal of cooked rice with vegetables, seasonal fruits, cereals, and hay, all in sufficient quantities.
During the inspection, it was determined that the elephant approached and took food with interest, that there were no signs that would indicate health disorders, that there were no difficulties in movement or visible injuries, and that she was in good fattening condition. The conditions and manner of keeping Lanka in relation to the diet, enrichment of living space, interaction with caretakers, etc. are defined in the written procedure "Internal protocol for the care of the elephant";
Personnel caring for the elephant Lanka - caretakers who come into direct contact with the elephant, according to the internal protocol, in addition to feeding, cleaning, cooling, checking the living conditions, animal health and behavior, perform the introduction of new functional structures in the space with the design of new activities for the animal, thus achieving a better interaction with the caretakers;
A review of records on the health status of animals in the safari park of the Brijuni National Park has established that veterinary examinations of animals are performed once a month by an authorized veterinarian (the last inspection was performed on June 6th 2019, and on that occasion, it was determined that all animals are in good fattening and health condition, that they have good hygienic conditions with adequate protection from possible adverse weather conditions, they have food and water provided, and signs of parasitic and infectious diseases have not been identified). In addition to the monthly inspections of animals in the safari park performed by an authorized veterinary organization from Pula, inspections of the safari park are performed regularly by the veterinary inspection, by the dynamics and scope defined in the annual Veterinary Inspection Work Plans.
Pursuant to the aforementioned, and based on the conducted inspection (registered in the records of the veterinary inspection CLASS: 322-07119-1012034, REGISTRATION NUMBER: 443-03-0681-19-2 of July 9th, 2019), non-compliance with the conditions and manner of keeping the elephant Lanka have not been identified, nor have any changes to her health been identified.
Of course, housing animals in captivity, despite efforts to mimic their natural habitat as much as possible (with the latest knowledge on species biology) cannot meet the biological and ethological needs of the animal in the same way as a natural habitat can. In this context, given the fact that elephants live in herds of 10 to 30 individuals, and in search of food they travel long distances in a single day, their keeping in captivity cannot ensure the same level of welfare as animals have in their natural habitat.
Attached: records of an elephant Lanka on the day of the inspection
Senior Veterinary Inspector
Lovorka Tomičić, MD