'Saddest Elephant in the World' Wins Freedom, Care After Decades of Chains and Abuse
By Katherine Sullivan
Last week, Lawrence County District Court Judge Terry declared that Nosey the elephant won't be returned to the people who left her chained and swaying back and forth in her own waste with urinary tract, skin and roundworm infections as well as painful osteoarthritis and signs of dehydration and malnutrition.
BREAKING VICTORY: After decades of being chained, neglected, and forced to give people rides, Nosey the elephant wi… https://t.co/WOgIYtGnEd— PETA (@PETA)1516650924.0
Our campaign for Nosey started in 2004, when a whistleblower reported that she was being routinely abused with bullhooks and electric prods. Over the years, we persuaded venues not to host performances with the suffering elephant, persuaded authorities to bar Hugo Liebel's elephant act, worked with elephant experts, engaged members of Congress and obtained celebrity support in favor of her release to an accredited sanctuary where her needs could be met properly.
We thank local authorities for initiating this course of events and everyone who worked to keep Nosey away from Liebel—the man who used chains and intimidation in order to force her to give rides for decades.
The Road to Justice Was a Long One
Prior to Nosey's seizure, Liebel had been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for nearly 200 animal welfare violations. Most of these citations were related to his mistreatment of Nosey, including repeatedly chaining her so tightly she could barely move and denying her necessary veterinary care. This cruelty had been occurring for decades.
On Nov. 8, Lawrence County District Court Judge Angela Terry issued a writ of seizure after Animal Control Officer Kimberly Carpenter—who could be described as Nosey's guardian angel—found the elephant confined to a trailer at a truck-repair shop where the Liebels were reportedly having their brakes fixed. She was standing in feces and without proper shelter. The trailer that she was confined to was so small that Nosey couldn't take a step or turn around.
On Nov. 9, Judge Terry held a hearing to determine whether the seizure should stay in place. After the hearing, she ordered animal control to "make arrangements as necessary for the housing and care" of Nosey. That night, she was transported to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
African #elephant #Nosey arrived safely at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee late Thursday night.… https://t.co/NjFktzdpkU— The Elephant Sanctuary (@The Elephant Sanctuary)1510346973.0
At the sanctuary, Nosey was given the care and protection she deserved all along. When she arrived, the staff was waiting for her with welcome presents: fresh produce, bamboo and banana leaves. The veterinary and husbandry teams carefully monitored her throughout the night and reported that Nosey was calm and already showing interest in her new surroundings at the lush green refuge. The Elephant Sanctuary has continued to provide updates about Nosey on its website, as well as through its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.
On Dec. 15, a trial was held to determine whether the seizure should be made permanent. Key testimony came from expert witness Lydia Young, associate veterinarian at the Elephant Sanctuary. She testified that Nosey had arrived at the sanctuary showing signs of dehydration and that she had been underfed.
She also had multiple infections. Nosey was suffering from a painful urinary tract infection, a roundworm infection (caused by ingesting fecal matter) and a chronic bacterial infection from her severely dry, cracked and overgrown skin. She was stiff and sore, and her left hind leg was swollen.
The sanctuary was able to perform radiographs on the leg, which confirmed that she's suffering from osteoarthritis. According to Dr. Young, Nosey requires daily veterinary care for her conditions. Her skin will take months or years to improve, and osteoarthritis is an incurable, chronic disease that requires pain management and species-appropriate exercise.
Although the trial lasted more than 10 hours, the judge didn't rule on the case at that time.
Another victory was achieved the following day, when Liebel and his wife Franciszka were arrested and charged with cruelty to animals in relation to their treatment of Nosey.
Good news! Hugo and Franciszka Liebel have been charged with cruelty to animals in relation to Nosey the elephant. https://t.co/vvxnFE5w4o— PETA (@PETA)1513457779.0
We applaud local authorities, including ACO Carpenter and Assistant District Attorney Callie Waldrep, for standing up to cruelty and making the best possible case for this elephant. At the Elephant Sanctuary, she'll continue to receive round-the-clock veterinary care. Although Liebel's attorney has threatened to appeal, we will continue to push to keep Nosey right where she is.
Katherine Sullivan is an online content producer at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.
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By D. André Green II
One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.
Millions of People Care About Monarchs<p>I will never forget the sights and sounds the first time I visited monarchs' overwintering sites in Mexico. Our guide pointed in the distance to what looked like hanging branches covered with dead leaves. But then I saw the leaves flash orange every so often, revealing what were actually thousands of tightly packed butterflies. The monarchs made their most striking sounds in the Sun, when they burst from the trees in massive fluttering plumes or landed on the ground in the tussle of mating.</p><p>Decades of educational outreach by teachers, researchers and hobbyists has cultivated a generation of monarch admirers who want to help preserve this phenomenon. This global network has helped restore not only monarchs' summer breeding habitat by planting milkweed, but also general pollinator habitat by planting nectaring flowers across North America.</p><p>Scientists have calculated that restoring the monarch population to a stable level of about 120 million butterflies will require <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/icad.12198" target="_blank">planting 1.6 billion new milkweed stems</a>. And they need them fast. This is too large a target to achieve through grassroots efforts alone. A <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/CCAA.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">new plan</a>, announced in the spring of 2020, is designed to help fill the gap.</p>
Pros and Cons of Regulation<p>The top-down strategy for saving monarchs gained energy in 2014, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service <a href="https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pdf/petition/monarch.pdf" target="_blank">proposed</a> listing them as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A decision is expected in December 2020.</p><p>Listing a species as endangered or threatened <a href="https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf" target="_blank">triggers restrictions</a> on "taking" (hunting, collecting or killing), transporting or selling it, and on activities that negatively affect its habitat. Listing monarchs would impose restrictions on landowners in areas where monarchs are found, over vast swaths of land in the U.S.</p><p>In my opinion, this is not a reason to avoid a listing. However, a "threatened" listing might inadvertently threaten one of the best conservation tools that we have: public education.</p><p>It would severely restrict common practices, such as rearing monarchs in classrooms and back yards, as well as scientific research. Anyone who wants to take monarchs and milkweed for these purposes would have to apply for special permits. But these efforts have had a multigenerational educational impact, and they should be protected. Few public campaigns have been more successful at raising awareness of conservation issues.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91165203d4ec0efc30e4632a00fdf57d"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KilPRvjbMrA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Rescue Attempt<p>To preempt the need for this kind of regulation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/pdfs/Monarch%20CCAA-CCA%20Public%20Comment%20Documents/Monarch-Nationwide_CCAA-CCA_Draft.pdf" target="_blank">Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterflies</a>. Under this plan, "rights-of-way" landowners – energy and transportation companies and private owners – commit to restoring and creating millions of acres of pollinator habitat that have been decimated by land development and herbicide use in the past half-century.</p><p>The agreement was spearheaded by the <a href="http://rightofway.erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank">Rights-of-Way Habitat Working Group</a>, a collaboration between the University of Illinois Chicago's <a href="https://erc.uic.edu/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Resources Center</a>, the Fish and Wildlife Service and over 40 organizations from the energy and transportation sectors. These sectors control "rights-of-way" corridors such as lands near power lines, oil pipelines, railroad tracks and interstates, all valuable to monarch habitat restoration.</p><p>Under the plan, partners voluntarily agree to commit a percentage of their land to host protected monarch habitat. In exchange, general operations on their land that might directly harm monarchs or destroy milkweed will not be subject to the enhanced regulation of the Endangered Species Act – protection that would last for 25 years if monarchs are listed as threatened. The agreement is expected to create up to 2.3 million acres of new protected habitat, which ideally would avoid the need for a "threatened" listing.</p>
A Model for Collaboration<p>This agreement could be one of the few specific interventions that is big enough to allow researchers to quantify its impact on the size of the monarch population. Even if the agreement produces only 20% of its 2.3 million acre goal, this would still yield nearly half a million acres of new protected habitat. This would provide a powerful test of the role of declining breeding and nectaring habitat compared to other challenges to monarchs, such as climate change or pollution.</p><p>Scientists hope that data from this agreement will be made publicly available, like projects in the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/MCD.html" target="_blank">Monarch Conservation Database</a>, which has tracked smaller on-the-ground conservation efforts since 2014. With this information we can continue to develop powerful new models with better accuracy for determining how different habitat factors, such as the number of milkweed stems or nectaring flowers on a landscape scale, affect the monarch population.</p><p>North America's monarch butterfly migration is one of the most awe-inspiring feats in the natural world. If this rescue plan succeeds, it could become a model for bridging different interests to achieve a common conservation goal.</p>
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