In 1998, Zimbabwe gifted a 26 month-old male African elephant to India as a diplomatic gift. They named him Shankar after India's 9th president. Shankar is now 24 years old and has lived his entire life in the Delhi zoo. Shankar has been living in solitary confinement ever since his companion, Bombai, passed away in 2005.
Shankar is chained for 17 hours a day; when he is let out, he barely has enough space to move around. Elephants are social creatures and suffer from neurological distress when they're put in confinement, just like humans. Shankar shows many signs of distress, such as head bobbing and swaying. The zoo authorities have had to close the viewing pathway since Shankar has been showing aggressive behavior and could be a danger to visitors.
Youth for Animals is an organization started by an AES student Nikita Dhawan and a Shri Ram School Moulsari student Nandika Karunakaram. They have filed an RTI (right to information), and the Delhi zoo has confirmed that they have made absolutely no effort in the past and have no future plans to release Shankar to a place where he can be in the company of other elephants and thrive. Shankar will meet the same fate as Bombai, dying in the zoo if his solitary captivity doesn't end.
So, what needs to happen? Shankar needs to be released to a wildlife refuge or sanctuary where there are other African elephants that he can interact with. He needs to have adequate space and be able to thrive amongst others of his kind.
Please sign this petition to help. Petition · Help free Shankar from decades of solitary confinement in the Delhi Zoo · Change.org
See the detailed letter sent to the Delhi zoo. NZP letter October 4 2021 for petition.pdf
Read more about the movement on their website, Youth for Animals ~against animal cruelty ~for animal protection
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