Episode 141: Elephants in Japan


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On this week's episode of Animal Instinct, Celia is joined by Ulara Nakagawa and Dr. Keith Lindsay of Elephants in Japan.

In 2015, the story of a solitary, elderly Japanese elephant named Hanako went viral. Dubbed “the loneliest elephant in the world,” Hanako lived and died alone in a concrete jail within a Japanese zoo, having spent the vast majority of her life without a mate and without basic amenities like heating or shade.

Now Ulara Nakagawa, the same person that brought to light the story of Hanako, has created an organization called Elephants in Japan. The organization is working with Dr. Keith Lindsay, a biologist best known for his long-term study of elephants, to research and develop a report that reveals the dire conditions of 14 additional solitary elephants in public and private zoos across Japan.

Elephants in Japan is a humanitarian wildlife group dedicated to providing a better life for extremely lonely, socially-deprived elephants before they suffer the same fate as Hanako. Time is of the essence - since the report began, two of the 14 elephants observed have already died. Three of the remaining 14 elephants live in particularly cruel environments, including the case of Teru, who has been entirely alone since 2000 and is kept in extreme weather conditions.

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