Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Elephant In The Room

In Defense of Animals
Free Elephants Vaigai and Mari from the Dysfunctional & Disaccredited Honolulu Zoo`. Hawaii is no paradise for Vaigai and Mari, two female Indian elephants who have for decades been victimized by the Honolulu Zoo. The Zoo has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to provide Vaigai and Mari with appropriate care, and has failed to live up to even the low bar of captive facility standards adhered to by most zoos. Vaigai and Mari need your help! Read More here!

Ruperta the Elephant is Starving in a Venezuelan Zoo! Sign Petition to Get Her Transferred. Venezuela is currently in the middle of a deep economic crisis. Since last year, there have been multiple media reports of zoo animals going hungry in the country, as the crippling economy has slowed food supplies. And now we have another heartbreaking instance to share with you. Pictures of a 46-year-old elephant named Ruperta who is currently at the Caricuao Zoo have taken social media by storm, and we have to warn you – they’re pretty shocking.
The photos show a full-grown elephant with protruding bones and a severely sunken face. After the photos went viral, Venezuelans launched a food drive to save Ruperta. El Universal reported that Ruperta is suffering from diarrhea and dehydration after zoo officials only had squash to feed her for several days. According to the newspaper, when neighbors tried to bring food to the elephant, zoo officials refused the donations, citing sanitary issues.

The government denied Ruperta is starving, saying that a stomach ailment had caused her to lose weight and required her to be on a restricted diet. But just last year, some 50 animals starved to death at the Caricuao Zoo due to the chronic food shortages, according to a union leader.

The government may deny that Ruperta is starving, but it seems evident that she is emaciated and is in need of medical care ASAP. Sign this urgent petition asking the Caricuao Zoo to relocate Ruperta immediately!
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Locals aren’t the only ones concerned for Ruperta. The country’s Environment Ministry released a statement saying, “Elephants could live in the wild until they are 60 years old and around 65 or 70 if they are captive. Ruperta is 46 years old. She is an animal that could be considered to be aging prematurely.”

Adult elephants in their wild habitat, normally eat between 300-400 pounds of food per day. However, in captivity, zoos admit to only feeding their captive elephants a measly 150 pounds of food per day (largely to stave off obesity that comes with their lack of exercise).  In the wild, an elephant would be grazing and eating a variety of foods all day long. In captivity, an elephant, unfortunately, has to eat whatever it is fed and on a schedule that someone else has made for them. All of which, goes against everything that is natural to an elephant’s instincts.

If you love elephants, don’t visit them at the zoo. Zoos exist primarily for profit and provide little to no benefit to animal conservation – save the zoos that have rehabilitation and release programs or donate profits to outside organizations helping animals in their wild habitat.  Unfortunately, the negatives far outweigh the positives for zoos, and they effectively only promote the idea that animals exist for our entertainment.

The good news is we all have the power to stop this industry. By refusing to purchase tickets, you can help put an end to the captivity industry. Opt to support sanctuaries that offer life-long care to former captive elephants, or organizations that work on protecting our wild and captive elephants instead.

Please sign this urgent petition asking the Caricuao Zoo to relocate Ruperta and give her the life she deserves and forward the petition to your friends and family. She is depending on us to be her voice.

Please Sign here too!

Baby Elephant Walks Again After Being Shot in the Legs.
Luggard is one lucky elephant. When he was just a few months old, a pilot on anti-poaching patrol over Tsavo East National Park in Kenya spotted him struggling to keep up with his herd. Luggard had been shot in the hind leg and foot.

Lullaby To Starving Orphan Baby Elephant In Myanmar. "Ayeya May" is an orphan baby elephant in Winga Baw Elephant Camp ,Myanmar. Ayeya May is not only elephant in this camp, two others a 7 month old named Yuyu and a 4 month old named Mary. The baby requires direct care at this time and motherly accompaniment, Lek Chailert Founder of Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park visit this camp, after she fed her milk Lek suggest how to make the baby feel comfortable and to get the best care. Pray for their survival, and for them to grow up long beyond this day, and to know their dignity and to be treated with respect.
Victory for Elephants! China to Close 67 Ivory Carving Factories and Retail Shops. Here’s some fantastic news: China is making good on its promise to end its ivory trade by the end of 2017! The government is forcing a dozen Chinese ivory carving factories and 45 ivory retail shops to shutter their operations this week. These 67 establishments represent more than a third of the country’s ivory businesses, and the remainder are planned to close before 2018.

And here’s even more great news: A study from conservation group Save the Elephants found that wholesale ivory prices in the country are down by close to 65 percent since early 2014 when a kilogram averaged $2,100. In February of this year, the average price in China was $730. Representatives from Save the Elephants say they believe those prices will continue to drop, thanks in part to this drive by the Chinese government to end its country’s trade. Other contributing factors the conservation group credits include an increase in public awareness, an economic slowdown in the country, and an official anti-corruption campaign.

China is the biggest player in the world’s illegal ivory trade, so this gives us plenty for which to celebrate. Still, the fight to save African elephants from extinction through the brutality of poaching is unfortunately far from over. “Hong Kong and the UK still have not passed their proposed ivory bans, and Japan’s market remains wide open,” according to WildAid. Even here in the U.S., the second largest market in the world where a “near-total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory” was implemented in 2016, certain ivory sales and imports are still allowed.

As a result, these gentle giants continue to be savagely massacred for their tusks at a rate of around 100 elephants each and every day – or around one every 15 minutes. Only 400,000 to 500,000 African elephants are estimated to remain today, compared to a population of around 1.2 million in the early 1980s. These losses have already had a significant impact on the social and environmental health of the native regions in which this species once thrived.

Our best hope to end these killings and save African elephants from extinction is to continue driving down demand for ivory. You can do so by sharing this information, urging consumers worldwide to avoid purchasing ivory trinkets or supporting this awful trade, and pressuring leaders in countries where trade in ivory is still allowed to implement full bans! When the buying stops, so can the killing.

Kinna's new baby Kama. Kinna's finally got the family of her own she deserves
Airlifted to our Nursery back in 1999, after she was found alone and stuck in the mud, watch ex-orphan Kinna’s journey from orphaned infant to a wild life and now, motherhood, in our short video.

Although Kinna was too young to know her own mother, orphaned when she was just a week old, she has had plenty of practice as a nanny to other calves. With their support, she has settled straight into motherhood and we’re happy to report mum and baby Kama, born on 23 March 2017, continue to look happy and healthy.

Read more about first time mum and ex-orphan, Kinna, here:

Rescued Elephant Adopts an Orphan Mouse and Raises Her as Her Own. When it comes to mice and elephants, most of us know that a very tense relationship exists. Elephants may be massive pachyderms who seem to dominate the world around them with poise and grace – but when you add a mouse into the mix, suddenly these great beings are reduced to nothing more than a bumbling, clumsy mess.

We know we spent most of our childhoods watching cartoon interactions between these animals and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, which is why when we saw this story from the Elephant Conservation Trust (ECT) in Nairobi, Kenya, we had to do a massive double take.

About five years ago, ECT rescued an orphaned elephant named Kutania. The little elephant had gotten trapped in a well and was sadly left behind by her herd. When they found little Kutania, she was in a terrible state and it took months of coaxing to get her to trust her human caretakers. After the apparent rejection she faced after being abandoned by her herd, Kutania was extremely wary of the other elephants at the sanctuary. According to her caretakers, she would run out to play with the other little elephants, but if they didn’t immediately show her attention, she would retreat – afraid to face the brunt of rejection yet again.

This didn’t bode well for little Kutania’s chances of making it in the wild and caretakers were beginning to become resigned to the fact that she would forever be in the confines of the sanctuary – but then something amazing happened.

In February of 2017, a mouse found its way into the elephant nursery’s kitchen area and was discovered by staff right as the hungry little elephants were running out for their morning bottles. Knowing elephants feared mice, staffers quickly shooed the mouse outside. Allegedly, Kutania had observed this action, and rather than recoiling in fear, like the other elephants – she went to comfort the little outcast animal. Her caretakers recall watching the elephant pick up the mouse in a very gentle manner, coaxing the rodent onto her head.

Ever since that day, Kutania and the mouse have been inseparable.

Experts at ETC believe the mouse was also orphaned, as they have never seen another on their property. Perhaps this shared pain is what brought this odd pair together.
Kutania has taken on the role of mother and protector to the little mouse and always makes sure they both have enough to eat – and is more than happy to share snacks.
Thanks to their friendship, Kutania has finally come out of her shell. Caretakers still maintain they’ve never seen anything like this before – but if it’s what makes both of these helpless orphans happy, they’re happy.
We can only hope that in a bit more time, both of these friends can return to the wild and thrive. If we can learn anything from their example, it’s that we all could stand to put aside preconceived notions and learn to love one another despite our differences.

To keep up with Kutania and the mouse, follow the Elephant Conservation Trust on Facebook. To learn more about this groundbreaking organization and their life-saving work, click here.

Baby Elephant Who Almost Lost Her Trunk to Bushmeat Poachers Gets Saved! The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) has another new baby elephant under its wings. Little Enkesha was rescued by the organization after she survived a terrible attack from bushmeat poachers who almost severed her trunk. Looking at Enkesha, it is hard to imagine that anyone would ever want to hurt her – but what she went through was unimaginable.

Bushmeat poachers target animals living in the wild and sell their meat as luxury items on the black market. Sadly, the senseless taste for “exotic” meat results in the killing and suffering of countless wild animals every year.

Enkesha’s trunk was almost completely severed by a poacher’s snare. Once the baby was in the hands of the rescuers, it became obvious that the only way to help her, avoid infection of the serious wound, and alleviate her pain, was to carry out an emergency surgery.

This, unfortunately, meant that the little ellie would have to be separated from her mom in the bush and flown to the DSWT Orphanage.
Initially, the operation was a success, but the elephant’s stitches popped out after two days. The vets and caretakers did not give up on the calf and her trunk, though.
Vets were reluctant to partially amputate her trunk since Enkesha could still use the tips. So instead, they opted to consciously clean her trunk until it healed on its own. Thanks to the special care from the team, Enkesha now can use her trunk far better than anyone expected! She can lift it, pick up twigs, and she even tries to give herself a dust bath!
After so much trauma and pain, this little baby is now on her way to complete recovery and will soon return to the wild!
Enkesha was very lucky to be found by people who went above and beyond to help her get back to health.

To visit the DSWT’s website and learn more about their work and the baby elephants recovering at their Orphanage, click here. Image source: DSWT/Facebook

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