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Bardot seeks Swiss home for sick elephants

Malcolm Curtis · 10 Jan 2013, 21:06

Published: 10 Jan 2013 21:06 GMT+01:00

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Last week, the animal rights campaigner from the south of France said she would emulate Depardieu, the tax exile who recently became a Russian citizen, unless the elephants in a Lyon zoo were granted a reprieve.

Now, she is hoping someone in Switzerland can save the elephants, named Baby and Népal, who were ordered to be destroyed by city of Lyon authorities.

The elephants were diagnosed with tuberculosis and have been deemed a threat to the health of other animals at Lyon’s Tête d’Or zoo, AFP reported.

“I would like very much to find in Switzerland a park that can welcome and care for Baby and Népal,” Bardot, 77, told the Swiss newspaper Le Matin in an interview this week.

“That would be a wonderful partnership and a chance for these animals, slaves of the circus who deserve to finish their lives in dignified conditions,” she said.

Bardot suggested the Swiss park after being asked whether she would take the elephants to the Mediterranean waterfront property owned by her foundation in St. Tropez.

“This is not a whim and these are not doggies for an old granny,” she said.

“I want to find a place appropriate to their needs and my foundation is working on it.”

And her plans to move to Russia if the elephants aren’t saved?

“I have no intention of leaving my country,” she acknowledged.

Making the threat to leave “was simply a way of giving a kick up the backside to the French government, which did not respond to my appeals,” Bardot told Le Matin.

“It wasn’t in vain because contacts (with the government) have finally been re-established.”

The elephants at the Lyon zoo were given an initial reprieve from being euthanized over Christmas after a petition was organized by their previous owner, circus master Gilbert Edelstein.

Bardot said it is not clear whether the elephants are actually sick or not.

That is why, she said, her foundation has sought a second opinion.

Captive animals can suffer from tuberculosis “without developing the illness as such,” she told Le Matin.



Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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