Animal Protection: High-profile elephant reunites with family, debate on animal shows continues
In an interview by CGTN, Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, Secretary-General of @CBCGDF China , talked about the #AsianElephant Molly coming back to #KunmingZoo, #Yunnan w/ the concerted efforts both at home and abroad, which perfectly embodying #EcologicalCivilization in a new era.
“The participation of the public is vital to Molly’s comeback. ” Dr. Zhou said.
Latest reports from China Global Television Network (CGTN) show #AsianElephant Molly in a perfect condition at Kunming Zoo.
Animal performances at zoos are in the spotlight after the fate of a little elephant sparked a grassroots movement. Yang Jinghao reports on the future of animal welfare in China.
Molly has finally reunited with her family at the Kunming Zoo in southwest China’s Yunnan Province after a four-year separation.
The Asian elephant was exchanged to a zoo in central China’s Henan Province in 2018 when she was only two years old.
She was sent back in mid-May.
“I’m very happy to see her come back and live happily and healthily beside her mother.”
YANG JINGHAO Kunming, Yunnan Province “Molly was Kunming’s ‘star animal’ before she was sent away. Last year, she generated a debate on Chinese social media after photos and videos were posted online claiming she was forced to perform tricks at different venues.”
Videos show Molly was carrying tourists, doing headstands, and even spinning hula-hoops with her trunk.
Local authorities denied any mistreatment, but animal lovers still launched an online campaign called “Rescue little Molly.”
An NGO also lent a hand, requesting the involved zoos and authorities disclose information about Molly.
ZHOU JINFENG Secretary General China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Devt. Foundation “The participation of the public and experts is vital to Molly’s comeback. And the scientific decision-making by authorities should also be applauded. But more importantly, we’re now in a new era when the concept of ecological civilization prevails.”
Many continue to voice concerns over the treatment of animals like Molly, with some calling for a complete ban on animal shows.
In 2010, China’s zoo regulator issued a notice, demanding all parks and zoos stop animal performances. But the notice is not yet backed up by law.
Popular science writer Chen Min has long paid attention to animal welfare. He says animal shows have decreased, but eradication is impossible in the short term since they’re an opportunity for zoos to make profit.
CHEN MIN Popular Science Writer “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism market has shrunk, and many zoos have also experienced a sharp revenue drop. To maintain the operation, some have resumed circus shows again. This is distressing.”
Many conservationists pin hope on legislation. The active Wildlife Protection Law prohibits “animal abuse,” although it doesn’t give a clear definition of what such abuse means.
ZHOU JINFENG Secretary General China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Devt. Foundation “We hope the amendment to the Wildlife Protection Law can widely adopt voices from experts, scholars and the masses to tighten the loopholes existing in the current law; we also hope there will be laws banning construction of new zoos and aquariums.”
There’s hope for progress. Last year, a herd of wild elephants, which made an unprecedented northward journey, returned to their natural habitat safe and sound with joint community efforts.
Chen Min says zoos shouldn’t just focus on entertainment but instead play a bigger role in science education and wildlife protection. YJH, CGTN, Yunnan Province.