2 June 2016
After spending most of her life in captivity, a 69 year old Japanese elephant named Hanako, whose living conditions was earlier this year protested died late May.
Hanako, Japan’s oldest elephant was found lying on the floor of her enclosure unable to stand.
According to a statement from the Inokashira Park Zoo, where she lived, workers tried to get her on her feet to keep her lungs from being pressed under her own weight, but were unsuccessful.
This happened May 26 and her death was announced later that day. She arrived Japan when she was two years old as a gift from the Thai government after World War II.
She spent most of her life in captivity as the star attraction at Tokyo’s Inokashira Park Zoo but became the center of a growing campaign to improve her living conditions after a picture of her inside her concrete enclosure was featured in a blog post.
Canadian animal rights activist, Ulara Nakagawa after she visited the zoo last year revealed that she was shocked and dismayed to see the conditions of Hanako’s confinement.
She said: “Totally alone in a small, barren, cement enclosure, with absolutely no comfort or stimulation provided, she just stood there almost lifeless, like a figurine.”
The animal had lost most of her teeth and suffered digestive problems, and constipation problems prior to her death.
In November 2015, a petition was set up in the hope that enough money would be raised to move Hanako to an elephant sanctuary; the petition got over 40,000 supports but she was never moved out of the enclosure.