An open apology to Limba, our beloved elephant.

Dearest Limba, the world owes you an apology.

I am sorry for your life of servitude and loneliness.

I am sorry you were taken from your precious Vietnamese family in 1964, robbed of your tribe (your mother and father, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles), robbed of your culture, and the warmth of the native country you should have lived your life in.

I am so very sorry for the fifty plus years you ended up living in Canada — a country known for its weak animal protection laws. I deeply regret the reality of your small pen, the insufficient space, your inability to roam freely, and the bitter cold.

I’d like to apologize for the countless performances and tricks you had to do — tricks that were unnatural to you and your physiology — and for the fact that you were forced to endure loud music and all the vibrations of the crowds that you were naturally so sensitive to.

I am sorry for the bullhooks and chains that are part of the captive elephant’s reality. It has been so saddening to read of the anger of your early years and to see what appears to be the learned helplessness you exhibited in your final years.

I am sorry for the life-long humiliation you endured. Like the time you were painted pink and yellow, and made walk down a street in Montreal as a gag. And all the Christmases where you were dressed in silly Santa outfits, and reduced to a sad spectacle in the name of so-called entertainment.

I was sorry to read reports on public days where you obsessively opened and closed your mouth, demonstrating at the most, stress, and at the very least, boredom. I profoundly apologize for the litter and cigarette butts you reportedly ate when you were given the chance to explore public areas. I am sorry your eyes, ears and trunk were almost always turned downwards.

I am sorry you were robbed of your own kind. I am sorry you lived an unnatural life, were stuffed into transports, and shunted from location to location, probably stressed and afraid.

And I am most sorry no one ever saw fit to reward you for all your hard work and incredible compliance by releasing you to one of the southern sanctuaries that were willing to welcome you.

Dearest Limba, the world owes you an apology, sadly, one that you will never get.

Does it help you to know that thousands of Canadians, and even more international folk, advocated for you? That there were 2,500 “likes” alone for one call for your liberation? That year over year demonstrators showed up with flowers, candles, healing messages and intentions for you? Does it help to know that newspapers wrote articles bringing your plight to the attention of the masses? That a nearby town stepped up and banned your being used as entertainment within their town limits? That your name and plight were known around the world?

No. But it helps us, those you’ve left behind.

Animal advocates worldwide are grieving you girl. We will forever remember you.

We loved you. We saw you. We are so very sorry. We tried.