Elephants gifted as Diplomacy Tools by Head of States – Elephant Veda

Veda, a six year old baby elephant was to be gifted to the Armenian president by the then Prime Minister in the year 2005 without any consideration for the habitat of the animal, its survival in alien habitat or the conditions of the zoo in which the animal was to be housed.

The authorities did not feel obliged to prevent this injustice from happening when approached by CUPA. Determined that even the voiceless be heard, CUPA filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of Karnataka. The Court maintained that though the transfer had violated certain conditions, the designation of the person doing the transfer was taken into consideration. The petition was dismissed and a review petition filed later was also dismissed.

At this time, a UK based organisation, Born Free, joined CUPA to campaign against this transfer. Born Free went ahead and conducted an investigation of the zoo in Armenia. They reported that the condition of the zoo was appalling and not viable for the survival of the elephant. Silent protests were held in UK.

Petitions were sent to the President as well as the Prime Minister and various other members of the Government. Media joined hands to support the cause. The media coverage and public awareness finally led the PM to cancel the order and further a Central directive was passed stating that no animals would be given as gifts to or by heads of State.