Entries in Elephant (3)


Reward Offered in Drive-By Shooting of Circus Elephant

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TUPELO, Miss.) -- A total of over $20,000 is being offered as a reward in the drive-by shooting of a circus elephant.

Police Chief Tony Carleton said that a vehicle drove past Tupelo's Bancorp South Arena at about 2 a.m. and fired into the area. An elephant with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was hit in the shoulder while it was in an enclosure outside the arena. Police are currently investigating the incident.

According to USA Today, the reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible totals $21,250. That figure includes $10,000 from the circus, $5,000 each from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, $1,000 from Crime Stoppers of North Mississippi, and $250 from former 1st District U.S. Representative Travis Childers.

The elephant, named Carol, was one of several performing with the traveling circus. While a security guard at the arena was able to provide police with some information, the investigation has not yet garnered many leads, according to USA Today.

Because the elephant is an Asian elephant, an endangered species, the crime is considered a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act. USA Today reported that the circus flew in its own veterinarian to treat the the elephant, which will take several weeks. The elephant is expected to make a complete recovery. The circus will continue as scheduled.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


One Ton of Illegal Ivory Seized in New York

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two defendants pleaded guilty in Manhattan Thursday to selling and offering for sale a ton of ivory items worth more than $2 million. The ivory, one of the largest seizures in New York history and a sign that the trade in endangered animals still thrives despite the best efforts of conservationists and law enforcement, was harvested from endangered and threatened elephants.

"Poachers should not have a market in Manhattan," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance at a press conference at which he displayed more than 70 boxes holding Buddhas, bracelets and decorated elephant tusks, a fraction of the ton of illegal ivory seized by his office after a year-long investigation. "It is unacceptable that tusks from elephants wind up being sold as mass-produced jewelry and unremarkable decorative items in this city."

"The world's elephants are not a ready supply of ivory for those who want to own and sell it," added Neil Mendelsohn, acting special agent in charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "They are national treasures to be protected."

Mukesh Gupta, 67, owner of Raja Jewels, and Johnson Jung-Chien Lu, 56, owner of New York Jewelry Mart Corp., were charged with illegal commercialization of wildlife. Each was required to forfeit their ivory items and pay a $45,000 fine.

The seizure is a victory in a battle that has been waged since the 1989 ban on the sale and distribution of ivory within the United States. Despite the ban, ivory traffic remains big business, with 24 tons of contraband seized worldwide in 2011 alone, making it the worst year on record for elephant death since the ban went into effect.

Wildlife groups have pushed for greater protections on African and Asian elephants, whose tusks have been harvested for centuries, but for poachers the massive, endangered beasts remain a source of riches, with most sales heading east to Japan and increasingly affluent China.

Between 2002 and 2006 it was estimated that four out of every 10 dead elephants was killed by a poacher. That number has now doubled -- eight out of 10 dead elephants are now believed to be the victims of poachers, who have become increasingly brazen despite international efforts to stem the trade.

The ivory is used in jewelry, art, and even in musical instruments, with piano keys made from the tusks of the endangered animals lending grim meaning to the saying, "tickle the ivories."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Elephant That Crushed Woman Handler Gets Reprieve

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) -- An African elephant that crushed handler Stephanie James at the Knoxville Zoo will not be punished. Officials at the Knoxville zoo now believe that James' death was an accident.

"The elephants acted as they should in that situation. In other words when they received a command, they responded. She responded in this case," Jim Vina, executive director of the Knoxville Zoo, said.

The 8,000-pound African elephant backed James into a stall on Friday, pushing her into metal bars.

"When something is...up to four tons...and that animal...pushes you against a wall or whatever inside tight quarters, you don't have a chance. It's just that powerful an animal," renowned zookeeper Jack Hanna said.

The 26-year-old elephant, named Edie, was not acting aggressively and followed the desperate commands of another handler to move back, zoo officials said.

When Edie followed the commands to move away from James, it was too late. The 33-year-old James lay crumpled against a stall. Medics rushed her to the hospital where she later died.

For now, zoo officials are keeping the zoo's three elephants away from direct human contact. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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