Possibly the world’s loneliest elephant has died at age 69. Throughout her life, she had been held captive at a zoo, unable to taste freedom at all. Reading about the elephant Hanako brought me to tears. This way of treating animals must stop!
Hanako was born in Thailand in 1947 and shipped to Japan when she was just 2, according to animal website The Dodo. Since then, she has lived in captivity.
For more than 60 years, the elephant had been detained at the Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo, Japan. She lived surrounded by concrete, alone and without any grass, trees, stimulation or companionship. No one knows the last time she saw another elephant was.
Due to these terrible conditions, Hanako became aggressive. She could become violent towards people and attack them. So they chained her for years. She also had problems with her stomach, because she had no teeth and could not eat properly.
Hanako’s situation became known last year, when a tourist was totally appalled at her treatment. She wrote a post on the internet, where she described the zoo as one of the cruelest and most outdated in the world, according to The Dodo. According to the tourist, the elephant was essentially lifeless, as she stood in her confined concrete home.
The zoo, however, refused to release Hanako. They claimed that she was healthy and feeling good. Not even in the final years of her life did the elephant get to feel what it is to be free, to socialize with other elephants or wander around in fields – despite the fact that people from all over the world have been upset and collaborated to try and save her.
Now Hanako has dead, at age 69. She collapsed in her cage on Thursday morning and died a few hours later.
“Hanako’s story may be over, but there are still many other elephants like her. The best way to help is to avoid zoos or circuses that keep elephants in environments where they can’t indulge in natural behaviors like traveling, running and forming lasting friendships,” The Dodo wrote.
This story brought me to tears. That Hanako lived alone for close to 70 years tore me inside. We must put an end to this madness and stop animal torture for human entertainment. Please share if you agree!
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