A Canadian blogger told of Hanako’s story which brought the issue to world attention. Now she hopes the story will lead to more action to remove other captive elephants from zooz and place them in sanctuaries.

A Canadian blogger told of Hanako’s story which brought the issue to world attention. Now she hopes the story will lead to more action to remove other captive elephants from zooz and place them in sanctuaries.
Photo Credit: Nakagawa

Hanako- the world’s loneliest elephant- is dead.

Hanako, meaning ‘flower child’ has died in her enclosure in Japan.

Hanako, a female elephant was a gift from the Thai government to Japan and had lived at Tokyo zoo since the age of two.

A few years ago Canadian visitor to Japan was deeply saddened to see the condition the elephant was living in.  Ulara Nakagawa of Vancouver said elephants are social animals but Hanako had spent her entire life alone, and in hard concrete enclosure without dirt, grass or water to wade in.

RCI-plea for Hanako Feb 2016

After her visit, Nakagawa wrote in her blog about the conditions the elephant had been enduring for decades. That led to people calling Hanako the world’s loneliest elephant, and to an international petition to have the elephant moved to a Thai sanctuary. It was hoped she could end her days in more natural surroundings and in the company of other elephants.

However, the zoo and an independent expert said the elephant was too old to move and a new environment and other elephants would frighten her.

For her part Nakagawa hoped the elephant’s story would change attitudes about keeping the animals in captivity.

Quoted by the Associated Press, Nakagawa wrote, “I hope that Hanako’s legacy will be to inspire her fans in Japan and elsewhere to better educate themselves on elephant welfare and work to expose and improve the living conditions of the many other captive zoo elephants who need us.  Rest in peace, Hanako. You will not be forgotten.”

additional information- sources

Yuri Kageyama The Associated Press

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12 comments on “Hanako- the world’s loneliest elephant- is dead.
  1. Avatar maxbet says:

    I find it always deeply touching how Greeks honor their dead before major holidays like Christmas and Easter. On Good Friday, the peak

  2. Avatar Jackie Hoppe says:

    Do not forget.

  3. Avatar Kelli Harper says:

    Please do not support the dominance and control of these wild animals.

  4. Avatar Kathi dabel says:

    This is beyond despicable and sickening snd so wrong to do to an animal ! Don’t allow these freaks to get another to torture it to death ! Please! They are selfish people !

  5. Avatar Daryl Stillwell says:

    I can only hope that the death of Hanako……The Worlds Most Lonely Elephant will and should be a lesson,a 60 year old cry for all elephants in circuses and zoos to be set free to live out their lives in sanctuaries with others of their own kind. If this does not happen and Hanakos death cry is not heard by those who still believe we have the right to imprison these majestic animals for decades and in Hanakos case for 58 years.Hanako whose name in Japanese means Wild Flower spent those 58 years on concrete.That pretty much sums it up for me.Us humans have no business stealing these elephants from their natural habitat, only to be gawked at by the thousands who can’t even figure out that they would likely be better off if they had grass or dirt to walk on instead of hard concrete.This alone should tell us that we don’t have a clue what we are doing with the wildlife we take from the wild ! Yet, Hanakos legacy just as Cecils will only fall on deaf ears because humans are innately greedy,uncaring, blind and yes….. oh, so deaf !

  6. Avatar Minal Agrawal says:

    If you won’t treat humans this disgraceful ways then why to have such mean behaviour with animals?

  7. Avatar Sarah boddy says:

    This is a disgrace that they have left this poor elephant like this for 60 years they belong in wild not like this

  8. Avatar Heather says:

    Please no new elephant

  9. Avatar Katarina terning says:


  10. Avatar margo says:

    everyone that is responsible should be put in a concrete cell and live there for 60 or so yrs., because that is what you deserve. Shame,,shame.