World’s Loneliest Elephant, Now Dead, Deserves Justice


Target: Hidemasa Hori, Deputy Director and General Curator at Inokashira Park Zoo

Goal: Ensure that more innocent animals are not allowed to languish and die in isolation.

An elephant named Hanako has died after living a life of isolation with no mental stimulation or enrichment, which is vital to the lives of elephants. Hanako was dubbed by activists as “the world’s loneliest elephant” because she was kept alone in a concrete enclosure for her entire life.

Hanako lived at Tokyo’s Inokashira Park Zoo in a small cement enclosure that had no toys, plants or other elephants. Elephants are highly intelligent, social and emotional animals that form close bonds with each other in the wild. Hanako never received her chance at a fulfilling life, and the zoo is to blame for allowing her to live in such horrendous conditions.

Activists petitioned to have Hanako moved to an elephant sanctuary and some even raised money to add some greenery and other improvements to Hanako’s enclosure. Hanako passed away before she was able to enjoy any semblance of a normal life.

This beautiful creature should not have lived out her life this way. Hold zoo officials responsible and demand they never allow another animal to live this way again.


Dear Director Hori,

Under your supervision, an elephant named Hanako lived a lonely life in a barren cement enclosure with no toys, no plants, no friends and no chance at a happy life. There’s absolutely no reason that this animal should have been kept in such a cruel environment. It shouldn’t have taken thousands of people signing petitions and raising money to improve the life of Hanako.

Now she’s dead and her chance of any happiness in her life is completely gone. She died as “the loneliest elephant in the world” and it’s your fault. I demand that you never allow another animal to live under these conditions again and do everything in your power to ensure the animals in your zoo live happy lives with the stimulation and habitats they need.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Yu Morita

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  1. KatWrangler says:

    I have no words to express my sorrow. 60 years, all alone.
    Now we have to make sure these POS at Inokashira Park Zoo NEVER do this to another animal, ever. And spend some of your yen to update this hell-hole, instead of buying more “toys” you do not need, and do not make your life better.

    And I also agree with every other comment here.
    My father was asked to remove me from the Central Park Zoo when I was 3. Even them I coulnd’t stand to see animals in cages, and wouldn’t stop crying. They said I upset the other visitors :p

    • Dan simon says:

      I don’t understand how anyone could be so cruel? Maybe we didn’t drop enough bombs on them in 1945

      • Ruth Tekell says:

        A strong statement, Dan. And I don’t see anyone arguing with you. If only Gen. MacArthur had had his way…

  2. E. Cambridge says:

    Asian countries are well-known to be horrific to the animals in their care. Japan is no exception. China just received a shipment of 26 baby elephants who were ripped away from their mothers in the wilds of Africa and sold to them under highly questionable dealings. Others went to US zoos. The zoos in China are filthy and cruel. Many animals live in isolation like Hanako there and elsewhere in the world. The answer? Don’t support zoos and boycott them where they are.

    • Ruth Tekell says:

      And their population is entertained by this! Their evil has persisted for so many centuries! Why do we tolerate this cancer?

  3. I, like so many, have signed for Hanako release to a Sanctuary. So extremely sad that this never happened for her. Now she is out of her jail of solitary confinement of 60 years for never ever having committed any crime at all. I just wish that humans stopped and thought about the living, breathing animals as free animals with feelings and intelligence, that belong in the wild. No! they only have hearts ruled by greed and money. So abased that they are lower than the animal kingdom.

  4. Shameful & cruel to inflict such sadistic callousness on elephants —


  5. Elizabeth knox says:

    Heartbreaking. We sign petitions, send emails, letters and these cruel people do not respond nor express regret of a beautiful animal dying due to their incompetence.

  6. Guillaume LAURENCIN says:

    Unforrunately, if he was sent to a sanctuary before to live free, he wouldn’t have deserved justice. Awful and pathetic.

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