Monday, February 22, 2016

The Elephant In The Room!

A clumsy one-tonne elephant has been caught on camera trying to eat and then trampling on a GoPro which SURVIVED the encounter.

Elephant calf rescued from mine holding dam

Meet Happy, the Loneliest Elephant, Who Has Lived in Captivity for 38 Years. When we talk about the Bronx we think of Yankee Stadium, J-Lo, Elephants, Arthur Avenue, and elephants. Wait…what?  Who thinks of elephants in the Bronx? Well it turns out, lots of animal activists do because there is one elephant standing alone right now who needs our help.

For the last three years, In Defense of Animals has listed the Bronx Zoo as one of the top 10 worst zoos for elephants in America. They’ve earned this particular distinction because of the conditions that one elephant, ironically named Happy, lives in. She’s been at the zoo since 1977, and has been all alone for almost a decade. In fact, the Bronx Zoo recently hit a new status when they were inducted into the organization’s 2015 Hall of Shame, a special honor reserved for the worst repeat offenders that have made little or no progress improving conditions for zoo elephants.

How Did an Elephant End Up in the Bronx?
According to the New York  Times, Happy was captured as a baby, likely from Thailand, in the early 1970s, along with six other calves, possibly from the same herd. The seven elephants, named for Snow White’s seven dwarfs, were shipped to the United States and dispersed among various zoos and circuses. Happy and Grumpy landed in the Bronx in 1977.

After 25 years in captivity, Grumpy suffered an injury from an altercation with another elephant and never recovered, and he sadly passed away. The zoo replaced him with Sammie, another companion for Happy. However, their time together lasted for only four years before Sammie was euthanized following an illness in 2006. After Sammie’s death, the zoo made the decision to end its elephant program and promised to concentrate its efforts on wild elephant protection efforts instead, through its Wildlife Conservation Society. Despite this decision, Happy, and two other elephants that occupy a separate enclosure, remain in the Bronx Zoo. Happy is kept separately from the other two since they do not get along. 
Happy’s Life in Isolation
It’s been 10 years since the Bronx Zoo ended its elephant program, but these three elephants have been left behind bars. For Happy, life in isolation is no life at all. You see, elephants are incredibly social animals. In the wild, they travel in herds with up to 100 family members and form incredibly strong bonds within their social structures. Putting an elephant alone in a cage, is comparable to putting a human prisoner in solitary confinement – it can make them go mad. One would assume that an organization that carries out its own programs to protect wild elephant populations and aims to learn more about their social structures, would know better than to keep a highly intelligent animal all by herself.

Happy Contributes to Scientific Discovery
In 2006, Happy was the first elephant to demonstrate self-awareness in a mirror. She joined the likes of animals such as great apes, rhesus macaque, dolphins, orcas, and most recently magpies who have also passed Mirror Self-Recognition tests. In the test, researchers painted X-marks on the foreheads of three elephants, Happy was the only one to acknowledge the mark. According to a report in National Geographic, “The researchers say this is firm evidence of mirror self-recognition.”

Sadly, neither this research, nor any of the other information we have about the animals suffering in zoos, has influenced those who keep Happy captive.
061030_elephant_mirror_02 (1)
What’s Being Done?
There are two petitions currently on and The Petition Site, directing the Bronx Zoo to release Happy and the other two elephants to sanctuaries that you can take part in. While zoos attempt to preach that they play a key role in “conservation” efforts, they are nothing more than money-making attractions that hold wild animals captive behind bars. Isn’t there enough to do in New York without having to see this magnificent creature standing alone on concrete for the next 20 years of her life? These attractions can only exist if the ticket sales are there to support them. You can make a difference by pledging to never visit an elephant in captivity. If you want to lend your voice to help get Happy released, you can be heard. Lead image source: Joshua Plotnik, Frans de Waal, and Diana Reiss

Stop the torture and exploitation of Rama, India's most famous show elephant. 

TARGET: Forest Department Kerala Prime Minister of India(Chairman of National Board for Wildlife,New Delhi) Chief Wildlife Warden,Kerala Secretary,Animal Welfare Board of India District Collector,Thrissur - Click Here To Help!
Stop the torture and exploitation of Rama, India's most famous show elephant
Rama (Thechikkotkavu Ramachandran) is a famous elephant in Asia - but he's being beaten and treated cruelly by the people who are profiting from his performances.

Rama is the star elephant of elephant festivals in South India, and gets the highest money reward in festivals in Kerala. When Rama refused to lift his head in an illegal elephant head-lifting competition, he was beaten cruelly. 

In head-lifting competitions, owners force elephants to hold their heads and trunks up in the "salute" posture typically seen in the circus. The winning elephant is the one that keeps his head up the longest - but it's a position that is painful and uncomfortable for elephants, putting straing on the neck and trunk and impairing their ability to breathe.

The police took the mahout to the police station but he was released instead of being penalized for beating this poor animal. A few days later when the elephant was taking part in a festival the mahout began to beat him again.

Rama has been partially blinded by his handlers to control him. He's so thin that his spine shows through his skin. This iconic elephant needs proper medical care and food! 

Sign this petition to demand the arrest of Rama's handler for animal abuse, and ask for Rama to be sent to a sanctuary where he can receive proper medical care! Click Here To Help!

Ivory Might be On the Way Out … But Elephant Leather Sales Are on the Rise
Each day, 100 elephants are killed for their tusks, and conservationists say that if we don’t act now, African elephants may be extinct by 2020. Thankfully, our world powers are waking up to this tragedy and passing tougher laws to restrict the ivory trade. However, while leaders have focused their attention to ivory, imports of elephant skin and leather to the U.S. have more than doubled in the past 10 years.

Despite the fact that elephants are a threatened species, people can easily purchase elephant leather at the click of a button. You can find products including bags, belts, shoes, and even car interiors made from elephant leather on Amazon, eBay, and a host of other online stores. That’s because while killing an elephant for its tusks is a seriously punishable crime, doing so for its skin is often completely legal.

Weak Regulations on Elephant Leather vs. Ivory
Believe it or not, anyone can purchase and resell elephant leather provided that they comply with the lax regulations of the Convention of International Treaty of Endangered Species (CITES). The fact that you can legally buy and sell one part of a threatened animal, but not another, is a bizarre loophole in our regulations.

For instance, the elephant leather must be purchased legitimately from sellers who obtained elephant skin from legally culled elephants. According to elephant leather manufacturers, African elephant skins come from culls once an elephant population becomes too big for a particular area and poses a threat to tribes or other wildlife. However, the legitimacy of elephant culls for “conservation” efforts are dubious at best. Another catch is that a buyer can never be truly certain whether or not a bag, belt, or other item has come from a culled elephant or a poached one.

‘This is one of the least-studied aspect of the trade in elephant products,” said Peter LaFontine of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “But from a consumer psychology standpoint, leather sales pose similar problems to ivory sales: Because documentation isn’t expected or provided (almost always), buyers assume that the products they’re purchasing are legal and not detrimental to the species.”

Why Are the Laws Different For Leather Than For Ivory?
According to LaFontaine, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says that regulating elephant leather and other non-ivory products is not necessary because ”there is no information to indicate that commercial use of elephant parts and products other than ivory has had any effect on the rates or patterns of illegal killings of elephants and the illegal trade in ivory.”

However, information gathered from the IFAW and Humane Society International proves otherwise.

They found that between 2003 and 2012, the United States was a chief importer of non-ivory elephant products including skins (33,184 specimens) and small leather products (57,844 specimens).

“Notably, the number of African Elephant skins imported to the United States is dramatically increasing (from an average of 797 per year at the beginning of this period to an average of 2,123 per year by the end),” LaFontine said.

While it may not be on the same scale as demand for ivory, it’s clear that consumer demand for elephant leather is a contributing factor to elephant deaths. Unfortunately, this issue receives little attention – attention that it absolutely must get before it’s too late for this beautiful being.

What You Can Do
The internet is plagued with online stores selling elephant leather. When we think of elephants, we think of those beautiful majestic creatures. Is a pair of elephant leather shoes really worth driving these animals to extinction? Remember that every item made from an animal results in its suffering and ultimate death. Share this article and educate others about the consequences of the elephant leather trade. Image source: werner22brigitte

Dear friends, We are delighted to see that over 100.000 concerned people have signed our petition to retire Pawan Kali. We are presently in contact with the Hotel Association Nepal and other stakeholders. We hope to bring you some positive news soon. View full update
Retire blind, handicapped elephant Pawan Kali - No more tourist rides!
Retire blind, handicapped elephant Pawan Kali - No more tourist rides! Pawan Kali is a 70+ year old, handicapped elephant living at Hotel Seven Star in Chitwan, Nepal.  This poor elephant is partially blind and in constant pain due to a lifetime of abuse, but is still forced to give safari rides to tourists and guests of the hotel. 

Her list of obvious ailments is long, and includes: a deformed leg, malnutrition, open wounds, and scarring across her body. Her physical condition is the result of her treatment and "training." In Nepal, safari elephants are trained through food deprivation, confinement and regular beatings, as well as physical restraints such as chaining and shackeling.

TARGET: Nepal Hotel Association, Nepal - Click Here To Help!

Lucky Needs You—She’s All Alone at the San Antonio Zoo.
Lucky the elephant
Lucky, an Asian elephant at the San Antonio Zoo, is one of the loneliest elephants in the U.S. She has been without a companion of her own species for two years. She is thought to be suffering from severe depression and regularly exhibits stereotypical behavior associated with the stress of confinement, such as swaying and rocking back and forth.

Elephants' social and physical needs simply cannot be met in confinement. In captivity, they often show signs of boredom and psychosis, along with physical ailments such as obesity, foot problems, and arthritis, which can cause intense suffering and premature death. In the wild, female elephants stick with their families for life and spend much of their time exploring vast habitats, socializing, and foraging for food.

Lucky deserves a comfortable life at a sanctuary, where she would have the opportunity to roam acres of natural habitat, play in a pond, forage for fresh vegetation, befriend other elephants, and enjoy a full, healthy, and enriched life. Please join us in urging the San Antonio Zoo to send Lucky to a sanctuary.

Baby elephant cuddles with his nanny.
Khun Dej, one of our rescued baby elephants, arrived a couple of years ago with an injured left front foot. Over time he has formed a small herd with his nannies Saree and Dani. They have formed their own family and will look after one another now, and always at Elephant Nature Park. 
Learn more:

Petitioning Everyone to say no elephants at Edinburgh zoo!
Edinburgh zoo after 12 years have decided that they want to rehouse elephants and baby elephants at that!!! NO baby elephants need to stay with their families not in a concrete hell. Click Here To Help!

Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu: Don't tear apart Masini, the baby elephant!
Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu: Don't tear apart Masini, the baby elephant!
Why this is important

Dear Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,

Vanakkam! It has come to our attention that you are donating baby elephant Masini to Sri Mariamman Temple in Samayapuram. Reference: You may be aware, this innocent baby was orphaned at a very young age. She is tender and gentle. She is used to company of the herd of females in Mudumalai that have nurtured her, and she is deeply bonded with this surrogate family. It is sinful to rip her apart from her foster family and doom her into isolation, akin to solitary confinement, and subject this innocent baby to unnecessary torture for the rest of her life. 

We appreciate your deep love and compassion for elephants and indeed they are sacred animals, the embodiment of Lord Ganesh. You may be aware that elephants are extremely intelligent and sensitive animals, most importantly they live in tight knit families. This is of particular significance for female elephants that live in herds and just like in human families their priority is protecting the young. But sadly, they’re ripped apart from their families for temple and cultural festivals. 

Worse yet, the Samayapuram temple is notorious for elephant abuse. A temple elephant named Mariappan was shackled inside a small concrete cell for more than eight years. A public outcry finally forced the temple authorities to release him to the Annamalai Forest Camp. It was also recorded that the temple was unable to provide him proper care, leaving this majestic animal in sheer desolation. This incident was reported in 2010:

Scientific research on temple elephants reveal that they suffer from serious health problems like obesity, arthritis on their joints, digestive issues caused by a lack of proper diet, foot rot and deadly diseases. Additionally they also suffer from serious psychological disorders because they are separated from their families and babies. They display psychotic behaviors typical to all captive elephants caused by stress, and lack of physical exercise and emotional bonding. 

Given these scientific facts, and your love for elephants, we humbly request of you to not rip apart baby Masini from her foster family. Instead of donating this baby to the Sri Mariamman Temple in Samayapuramon on your birthday please celebrate your deep bond with her by offering your resources and protection, so this sweet baby will not be torn away from her family at Mudumalai. She will surely be tortured in the temple. And this is definitely not what you would want for this innocent baby. You are revered as "Amma" of the state. We believe you know how a mother would feel when her baby is kidnapped. We pray that you use your power and influence to end the suffering of elephants in captivity by setting a shining example. 

Thank you! Mikka Nandri! Click Here To Help!

Precious Baby Elephant Holding Mom’s Tusk Reminds Us of the True Cost of Ivory Trinkets. Baby elephants might just be the cutest of all of the animal babies. There is something so endearing about their chubby little bodies, their big, floppy ears, and that sweet, tiny little trunk, they are almost begging to be hugged! Unfortunately, life for these animals is not always as charmed as we might imagine.

In fact, baby elephants are among some of the most vulnerable animals on the planet thanks to the illegal ivory trade. It is estimated that one African elephant is killed every 15 minutes for their ivory tusks. Tragically, at this rate, it is estimated that this beautiful species could go extinct within the next 20 years – all for the sake of frivolous objects like ivory nameplates and jewelry. Though we most often associate this trade with the death of adult elephants, the babies they leave behind are impacted just as much – if not more.

While we are grateful for the many amazing rescue groups who are dedicated to rehabilitating and raising these orphaned little ones, this photo serves as a powerful reminder that none of that is the way it is supposed to be.
Just like humans, elephants live incredible fully, and dynamic lives, and seeing this image is a pertinent reminder that the only being on the planet that needs an ivory tusk is an elephant.

Thankfully, this stark realization is beginning to turn action. The U.S. and China, which have the world’s two largest markets for the illegal ivory trade, recently committed to combatting the import and export of this product. Hopefully, this means that by the time this little cutie has tusks of its own, there won’t be anyone reaching for it but another adorable little baby elephant!

We can all make a difference for elephants by raising awareness for their plight. 

The True Cost of Ivory Trinkets:

Ivory name plates, piano keys, and jewelry are considered beautiful, even luxurious trinkets. These items come at a steep price for the buyer, but what about the price for the animal who’s tusks were used to make these items?

It is easy to forget that these items came to be in your home or office by way of a brutal and illegal illicit trade. Every year the ivory trade claims the lives of tens of thousands of elephants across Africa and Asia, yet by and large their plight goes untold. And this is not a problem that is just now gaining relevance, it is estimated that by 2020, if serious action is not taken, the African elephant will be extinct. That is only SIX years away!

It is easy to feel utterly helpless in the face of that fact, especially if you do not live in a country where these elephants are, but that is not to say there isn’t anything you can do. The United States has the second largest market for ivory in the world, meaning strengthening ivory trade legislation within the bounds of the U.S. could make a HUGE difference. Without a market, there is no demand to slaughtered gravely endangered elephants for their tusks.

There are a number of bills in process right now that are awaiting the signatures of state officials to definitively ban the trade and sale of ivory on a state level. What we need now is the public to demand action. Many Americans are unaware of the damage being done to elephants worldwide due to the ivory trade, to help raise awareness share this infographic and contact your local legislators urging them to ban the ivory trade in your state!
Infographic Shows the True Cost of an Ivory Trinket