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Calls for sad elephant to be moved

A SPANISH animal rights group has launched a campaign to have Susi, the only elephant in Barcelona's zoo, moved to a parkland, saying she could otherwise die of sadness.

The Barcelona-based group Libera says Susi's "life is in serious danger" because of the depression she is reportedly suffering since her female companion, Alicia, died last year.

Libera says Susi is 36 years old and was born in the wild in Africa.

Libera demands that Susi be moved to a safari park where she can at least "live the rest of her life in semi-liberty."

In a statement, the group says the elephant's behavior, such as eating its own excrement and continuously swaying her head and trunk from side to side indicate boredom and depression.

The group complains that the elephant cow has to live alone in a concrete compound measuring 1,000 square meters. It says the European Association of Zoo and Aquariums recommends that elephants live in herds and in spaces of no less than 2 hectares (20,000 square meters).

The Barcelona daily La Vanguardia this week quoted Lluis Colom, a keeper at the zoo, as saying the elephant is in good health. The paper said Colom acknowledged the beast's current living conditions were not the best but said the zoo plans next year to begin bringing in more elephants and placing them in an area that would more closely resemble their natural habitat.

Libera's Alejandra Garcia thinks Susi might not live to see that. "Susi won't last. Now, she's like a statue," she told El Pais newspaper.


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