Campaign aims to get elephant out of 'concrete prison' after 61 years

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Campaign Aims To Get Elephant Out Of 'Concrete Prison' After 61 Years
A campaign is underway to have a 68-year old elephant named Hanako transferred from Tokyo's Inokashira Park Zoo.

Word about the animal's plight spread when Ulara Nakagawa penned a Medium piece about the elephant, describing her as living "alone in a concrete prison."

She notes that she was shocked to see the animal housed in what she calls "one of the cruellest, most archaic zoos in the modern world."

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Campaign aims to get elephant out of 'concrete prison' after 61 years
An Asian elephant beats the heat by gathering water from a sprinkler with his trunk, at Berlin's Zoologischer Garten Zoo August 10, 2015 as temperatures rose past the 30 degree mark.. (Photo credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on July 24, 2015, Sri Lankan elephants bathes in a lake at Yala National Park in the southern district of Yala, some 250kms southwest of Colombo. Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. (Photo credit:  Ishara S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Nick Riewoldt of the Saints and Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers meet elephant Bong Su, the largest animal in Australia during an AFL media opportunity at Melbourne Zoo on July 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
An elephant cools off on a hot summer day at Madrid's zoo on July 2, 2015. Spain is heading for a new heatwave which will last for at least nine days and extend to the rest of Europe, the national weather office said on July 1. (Photo credit: DANI POZO/AFP/Getty Images)
IZMIR, TURKEY - JUNE 26: Deniz, the baby elephant living at Izmir Wild Life Park, looks at an inflatable pool brought for it in Izmir, Turkey on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Baby elephants play in water at the Israeli zoo of Ramat Gan, north of the Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 27, 2015 as temperatures reached 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit). (Photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A male elephant charges towards unseen Indian villagers after they threw stones in an attempt to scare away a herd of wild elephants which strayed close to the village of Kolabari, some 50kms from Siliguri close to the India-Nepal border on May 25, 2015. Indian forest guards and local villagers used firecrackers to scare away the elephants after sightings caused unease among villagers. Human-elephant conflicts are on the rise in India as villagers and farmers encroach on the elephants' natural habitat.  (Photo credit: DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on May 21, 2015 shows an elephant at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya, approximately 300 km north of the capital Nairobi. An estimated 470,000 wild elephants remain in Africa, according to a count by the NGO Elephants Without Borders, down from several million a century ago. (Photo credit: TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
PINNAWALA, SRI LANKA - APRIL 16: Elephants are seen at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka, on April 16, 2015. Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawala is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). (Photo by Fatih Dogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Elephants feed on giant pumpkins at Taronga Zoo on April 10, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Taronga Zoo and the Sydney Royal Easter Show partnered together to recycle the giant pumpkins, including one pumpkin weighing in at 728kg. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
An elephant splashes at sunset in the waters of the Chobe river in Botswana Chobe National Park, in the north eastern of the country on March 20, 2015. African elephants could be extinct in the wild within a few decades, experts warned on March 23, 2015 at a major conservation summit in Botswana that highlighted an alarming decline in numbers due to poaching. (Photo credit: CHRIS JEK/AFP/Getty Images)
Bayanga, Central African Republic - March 15: An African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at Dzanga Bai Saline in Dzanga National Park at triangle of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Central African Republic on March 13, 2015 in Bayanga, Central African Republic. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)
Bayanga, Central African Republic - March 15: An African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) at Dzanga Bai Saline in Dzanga National Park at triangle of Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Central African Republic on March 13, 2015 in Bayanga, Central African Republic. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)
Elephant Asha (front), father Assam (C) and mother Angele (L) are pictured on Asha's 2nd birthday in the zoo and Botanic Garden in Budapest on February 14, 2015.  (Photo credit: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on January 31, 2015, shows Tang Gwaa of the Thai blind orchestra playing with an elephant after a rehearsal ahead of a concert at the Thai Elephants Research and Conservation Fund in Khao Yai national park 180 km (112 miles) north east of Bangkok. Deftly feeling their way along the bumps of the braille score, the young players of Thailand's first blind orchestra memorize scales, defying both their impairment and ingrained negative attitudes towards disability. (Photo credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
IZMIR, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 07: Baby elephant named Deniz, which has been kept in a sanctuary since she was born due to the risk of getting infection, is seen with her sister Izmr on her first day outside of the sanctuary at Wildlife Park of Izmir, Turkey on November 07, 2014. (Photo by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Female elephants Safari (L) and Chupa walk in their enclosure on October 8, 2014 in a zoo in Erfurt, Germany. (Photo credit: MARTIN SCHUTT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - AUGUST 30: Elephants roaming at Yamuna river bank, on August 30, 2014 in New Delhi, India. These elephants belong to several individual owners who work the elephants to earn a living for themselves and their families. (Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A still nameless female baby elephant stands next to its mother at their compound at Hagenbecks Animal Park, Hamburg, Germany, Monday, July 13, 2015. The calf was born on Sunday. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)
Malee, left, a four-year old Asian elephant, interacts with her aunt Chandra, center, who will turn 20 on July 2, and Bamboo, right, age 48, a recent arrival from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, at the Oklahoma City Zoo in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Woodland Park Zoo decided to end its elephant program in 2014, and the decision was made to move the elephants to Oklahoma City. The elephants arrived in May and spent 30 days in quarantine. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sri Lankan elephants have a bath in the Nyiregyhaza Animal Park in Nyiregyhaza, 245 kms east of Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, June 2, 2015. ( Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)
In this photo taken Thursday, April 9, 2015, Bamboo, an Asian elephant, flicks her ears as she walks in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo, in Seattle. Elephants, one of the most popular animals at American zoos, could become very hard to find over the next few decades as aging pachyderms die and the rest congregate in the handful of zoos capable of caring for the large animals. Facilities like Seattle’s have already made the difficult and controversial decision to move their elephants to another zoo so they can join a larger herd. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Achara, front, an Asian elephant born at the Oklahoma City Zoo on Dec. 22, 2014, walks in an enclosure with her big sister Malee, rear, born at the zoo on April 15, 2011, at the zoo in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this photo taken Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, an African elephant grazes in Tarangire National Park on the outskirts of Arusha, northern Tanzania. The park is known for its baobab trees and hosts more than 500 animal species. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
In this photo taken Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, African elephants walk in Tarangire National Park, on the outskirts of Arusha, northern Tanzania. The park is known for its baobab trees and hosts more than 500 animal species. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
Bamboo, a 47-year-old Asian elephant, walks in her enclosure at the Woodland Park Zoo Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Seattle. The zoo announced Wednesday that it is ending its on-site elephant program and will find a new home for its two endangered Asian elephants. Zoo president and CEO Deborah Jensen said that they haven't identified a new facility for Bamboo and 35-year-old Chai but expect to relocate the two female elephants together in 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A yet to be named baby Asian elephant walks with her mother, Asha, at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in Oklahoma City. The elephant was born at the zoo Dec. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
An elephant immerses behind a window in the elephants' indoor pool at the Zoo in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
An elephant eats a chunk of ice containing fruit in Barcelona Zoo, Spain, Friday July 25, 2014. Temperatures reached around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and the high temperatures are expected to last several days. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
A yet-unnamed baby Asian elephant at the Oklahoma City Zoo sticks her trunk out of her enclosure during a shower in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. The elephant was born at the zoo Dec. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
A keeper standing outside the enclosure tosses carrots toward Bamboo, a 47-year-old Asian elephant at the Woodland Park Zoo Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Seattle. The zoo announced Wednesday that it is ending its on-site elephant program and will find a new home for its two endangered Asian elephants. Zoo president and CEO Deborah Jensen said that they haven't identified a new facility for Bamboo and 35-year-old Chai but expect to relocate the two female elephants together in 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Sixteen-month old Indian elephant Asha is sprinkled with water to cool it in their enclosure in the Budapest Zoo as the temperature reaches 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (AP Photo/MTI, Attila Kovacs)
A Hindu holy man bathes a domesticated elephant on a hot summer day in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 7, 2014. The Hindu holy man uses the elephant to bless devotees in return for alms. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)
Two elephant calves play at an elephant orphanage in Pinnawala, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The orphanage is home to 83 elephants and a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
A single tusk elephant stands at the Kaziranga National Park, about 250 kilometer (156 miles) east of Gauhati, India, Monday, Oct. 31, 2013. The Kaziranga National Park, which has the world's largest concentration of Indian one-horned rhinoceros, will be reopened for tourists on Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
In this Sept. 5, 2013 photo, an elephant roams a 25 acre compound at the National Elephant Center near Fellsmere, Fla. Four African elephants are now living on 200 acres in the heart of Florida's citrus grove region in the newly opened center. Officials at the center said many more elephants could live there. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
In this Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 photo, an African elephant walks in Tarangire National Park, 118 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Arusha, Tanzania. The park is famous for its Baobab trees, birds, and African elephants and is home to more than 550 species. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
A newborn Asian elephant stands between its mother and grandmother a few hours after it was born at the Ramat Gan safari near Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013. Sagit Horowitz, the safari spokeswoman said the unnamed yet baby elephant is most likely a female. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Asian elephant Bozie, 38, originally from Sri Lanka, makes her debut at the Elephant Community Center at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, Thursday, June 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
A two weeks old elephant girl hides behind the trunk of her mother Khaing Hnin Hnin at the zoo in Hannover, northern Germany, Tuesday, March 26, 2013. (AP Photo/dpa, Peter Steffen)
An elephant eats a Christmas tree at the Berlin Zoo at the launch of the annual feeding of Christmas trees in Berlin, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. Keeper Dr. Ragnar Kuehne told reporters that today was the first day the elephants and some other zoo animals were fed with Christmas trees after the holiday period. The trees have not been used and were not sold, they were donated by the vendors in the area. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, elephants drink water at a dam inside the Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Addo Eleohant park houses over 450 elephants and contributes to the conservation of the endangered black rhino. Around 140, 000 people visit the park annually with around 54 per cent being international visitors from Germany, Holland and Britain according to park records.(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
In this photo taken on Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, an elephant walks inside the Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Addo Elephant park houses over 450 elephants and contributes to the conservation of the endangered black rhino. Around 140, 000 people visit the park annually with around 54 per cent being international visitors from Germany, Holland and Britain according to park records.(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
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The writer goes on to point out the elephant's "small, barren, cement enclosure with absolutely NO comfort or stimulation provided."

Pictures and video show that the animal does appear to be alone in a sparse, closed-off space outside.

However, in a Japan Times article from 2012, handlers talked about engaging her in activities like rolling a log, ringing a bell, and having her body scratched.

They also shared her special daily diet which includes produce, hay, and a special drink mixture.

It is believed that Hanako was shipped to Japan from Thailand at the age of two in 1949 and eventually became a resident at Inokashira.

The online petition is trying to gather 30,000 signatures to have her moved to a sanctuary.
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