The world’s saddest elephant, dies after 43 years alone in Cordoba zoo

She was known as the “saddest elephant in the world” after living 43 years in solitary confinement at the zoo in Cordoba, southern Spain, and on March 1st she passed away.

The world’s saddest elephant, dies after 43 years alone in Cordoba zoo
Flavia was said to suffer from depression. Photo: Pacma

Flavia, who was separated from her herd at the age of three and taken to live a life in captivity in Cordoba zoo, had been the subject of multiple campaigns against keeping elephants behind bars.

Said to suffer from a deep depression, she died at the age of 47 after months of deteriorating heath that saw her lose weight.

The Indian elephant was euthanized after collapsing in her enclosure and being unable to get to her feet.

Zoo authorities announced her death “with great sadness” on March 1 and said that her keepers were devastated by the loss.

In a press conference, Amparo Pernichi, the councillor in charge of Environmental issues at Cordoba City Hall called Flavia an icon of the city and said she would be terribly missed.

“Her death is a tremendous blow in general for the zoo family, especially for Fran and Javi who had been her carers in the last moments, and also for Silvia, who took care of her previously.”

“During the last six months, Flavia’s physical condition had deteriorated, but especially so in the last two weeks”.

The animal rights party Pacma had been working with the zoo to improve her enclosure and had been lobbying to find her a place at a safari park elsewhere in Europe, somewhere where she could interact with other elephants.

Watch a video Pacma produced about Flavia: 

But it never happened.

Pacma lamented that the pachyderm had suffered “the worst ending” she could have endured and called for an end to keep wild animals isolated in captivity.

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PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever

With the news last week that the Spanish city of Pamplona in Navarra has been forced to cancel its bull running fiesta for the second year running due to the Covid crisis, animal rights activists have seized on the opportunity to call for it to be banned permanently.

PETA offers cash to ban Pamplona’s famous running of the bulls forever
A shot from the encierro on July 7th 2019. Photo: AFP

PETA are writing to the mayor of Pamplona with the offer of €298,000 if the Navarran city ceases the use of bulls during their fiesta altogether.

“People around the world, including in Spain, say it’s past time the torment and slaughter of animals for human entertainment were stopped,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk in her appeal to Pamplona mayor, Enrique Maya.

“Now is the moment to be on the right side of history. We hope you will accept our offer and allow Pamplona to reinvent itself for the enjoyment of all.”

Each morning during the eight day festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, which bursts into celebration at midday on July 6th, six fighting bulls and six steers are released to run through the narrow streets of the old town to the bullring where the bulls are killed in the evening corridas.

Hundreds run alongside the animals in the morning dash which often results in gorings, and injuries from being stomped on after runners lose their footing in the crowds.

The festival, which was made world famous by Ernest Hemingway, who set his 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” during San Fermin, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the party each year.

The festival, which sees Pamplona’s population swell from just under 200,000 to more than a million, is estimated to bring an annual boost of €74 million to Pamplona businesses, according to an association of fighting bull breeders.

PETA’s offer is the latest in a long campaign to ban what it calls “Pamplona’s annual bloodbath”.

Together with Spanish groupAnimaNaturalis, the activists stage peaceful protests ahead of the start of the festival year.

The city’s former mayor, Joseba Asirón, supported the protests, describing them as “fair and honest”.

Speaking to reporters about the groups’ calls to remove bull runs from the festival, he said, “[T]his is a debate that sooner or later we will have to put on the table. For a very simple reason, and that is that basing the festival on the suffering of a living being, in the 21st century, is something that, at best, we have to rethink.”

Since the pandemic began festivals across Spain have been cancelled but corridas were allowed last summer with limited occupancy and with social distancing and Covid-19 measures in place.

But although Spain’s bullfighting lobby is strong, there is a general trend away from it.

In a poll published in 2019 by online newspaper El Español, over 56 percent of Spaniards said they were against bullfighting, while only 24.7 were in favour. Some 18.9 percent said they were indifferent.

Support was significantly higher among conservative voters, it showed.