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An unjust system that needs to end

By Jake Davis

We have several important announcements in our fight to #FreeTheFresnoElephants.

First: Yesterday the Fresno Superior Court denied¬†Amahle, Nolwazi, and Vusmusi‘s habeas corpus petition, which demands their right to liberty and release to an elephant sanctuary.

The Court did so¬†on the grounds that the petition does not allege, as the Court believes it must, that the elephants are held in ‚Äústate custody‚ÄĚ (due to, for example, a prison sentence imposed by a court).¬†We are challenging this decision and look forward to sharing our next legal steps in the coming weeks.¬†

Second: As we shared on social media over the weekend, the¬†Fresno Chaffee Zoo, without any announcement beforehand,¬†transferred Vusmusi to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, apparently because they weren’t successful in their efforts to use him for breeding with Nolwazi and her daughter Amahle.

Upon the recommendation of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), they sent Vusmusi back to San Diego (where he was born to an elephant who was pregnant with him when she was imported to the US in 2003) and brought in an elephant named¬†Mabu, ‚Äúwho has sired many elephant calves,‚Ä̬†to breed with Nolwazi and Amahle, as a¬†spokesperson told The Fresno Bee.

One of the most exploited elephants in US zoos, Mabu was part of a group of elephants captured from the wild in 2003 that included Vusmusi’s mother; Mabu has twice been moved back and forth between the Tucson Reid Park Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to be used for breeding. Nolwazi and Amahle were among 17 elephants, most of them breeding-age females, who were taken from their natural habitat in eSwatini in 2016 and imported to US zoos.

If you’re disgusted by the details above, know that we are too.

We’ll be continuing to fight for Vusmusi’s freedom and determining how best to bring on Mabu as a client. 

Forced breeding‚Äďfollowed by the disruptions of already severely constricted family bonds as elephants are moved from one tiny, barren zoo exhibit to another to meet zoos‚Äô needs‚Äďare among the most morally repugnant aspects of what zoos, under the guidance of the AZA, do to elephants under the pretense that they‚Äôre helping them. The truth is they‚Äôre all perpetuating a grotesque, unjust, and archaic system that isn‚Äôt saving elephants and that needs to end‚Äďin California and everywhere else.

For a detailed timeline of Nolwazi, Amahle, and Vusmusi’s case, court filings, and decisions, visit this page. Find all the latest on the fight for Nolwazi, Amahle, and Vusmusi’s freedom and ways to take action on our #FreeTheFresnoElephants campaign page.

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