For quite some time now In Defense of Animals has been following the lives of Tina, Jewel and Queenie, three Asian circus elephants who were part of the Shrine circus under the care of William Davenport.
What IDA found, three sick and miserable elephants, isn’t much of a surprise. However, what is surprising is that after years of documented violations of federal law reported to the USDA, nothing had been done.
Will Davenport, the elephant’s handler, has been cited by the USDA for multiple animal welfare violations in addition to being responsible for an accident where children were injured during an elephant ride.
Finally in August, as part of a deal struck with Davenport, the USDA and FWS confiscated Tina and Jewel, at which point they were sent to the San Diego Zoo’s Conrad Prebys Elephant Care Center.
IDA recounts the heartbreaking scene of Queenie, “chained to a tree in Texas, swaying neurotically behind Will Davenport after the truck carrying Tina and Jewel to the San Diego Zoo had pulled away.”
In October, the USDA filed serious charges against Davenport. A quick settlement that would result in Queenie going to a sanctuary was expected.
Both the PAWS sanctuary in California and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee are ready and willing to take Queenie into their facilities and care for her for the rest of her life.
However, Davenport who faces substantial fines and possible jail time for the violations alleged against him intends to fight the charges.
Queenie is still in Davenport’s posession, although he is not permitted to exhibit her or to move her without the USDA’s permission. No governmental authority will acknowledge responsibility for her well-being, according to IDA.
Unfortunately, since Davenport no longer holds an exhibitors license the USDA no longer oversees her health and well-being. In addition to worries that Queenie is not being provided with adequate food, veterinary care and proper living conditions that provide sufficient heat, IDA suspects no law enforcement agency has checked on her since August,
IDA has now turned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for help, since they’re responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act to protect endangered animals, including Queenie.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION FOR QUEENIE!
IDA is advising people to “contact the USFWS and remind them that there is an endangered Asian elephant in the hands of someone with an egregious history of negligent and abusive care of his elephants, and that her safety is their responsibility. Use the points outlined above to describe Davenport’s history and urge the agency to take immediate action.”
Mr. Benito Perez, Chief of the Office of Law Enforcement
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Southwest Regional Director
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Please continue to contact the USDA and urge the agency to do everything in its power to ensure that Queenie is taken from Davenport’s hands and sent to a sanctuary.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Acting APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea
For more information, visit www.helpelephants.com