Auckland City Council will decide the fate of three Asian elephants today. After two years of debate and controversy the Auckland City Council is expected to make a crucial decision whether to allow Auckland Zoo to house more elephants.

Kashin 2New Zealand's leading animal advocates from SAFE, WSPA and the RNZSPCA are unanimous in their concern for the welfare of the elephants. SAFE says Auckland Zoo's proposal to have an elephant herd is not feasible and more likely to be a cruel ‘white elephant'.

The Auckland mayor has received a second letter from a highly respected consortium of the world's leading elephant experts. They remain highly critical of Auckland Zoo's proposal to import two Asian elephants from Sri Lanka to join Burma, the zoo's remaining elephant.

SAFE campaign director, Eliot Pryor, says Auckland Zoo's persistence in trying to develop an elephant herd is likely to result only in expense and serious animal welfare problems.

"While initial costs for transport and quarantine are expected to be $3.2 million, Auckland Zoo admits ongoing costs to be over $9 million over eight years. Spending millions of dollars to keep three elephants captive is ludicrous, particularly when you consider that the entire nation just raised $2.5 million in a telethon to aid those in Christchurch without even homes," says Mr Pryor.

May 2011