Finally some good news about Elephants…
Good, Great and Marvelous Achievements!
So in this blog I wanted to focus on the positives because I’m sure you feel the same too, that there’s constantly sad news about elephants in the world, be it ivory or tourism. Here are some projects and organisations that have personally affected me in a positive way, and it feels wonderful to be able to talk and share them…
Firstly we have to celebrate that on February 4th 2016 Wild Aid organisation dedicated this year to ‘the year of the elephant’ and thousands of people on social media #JoinTheHerd. With a mission to end wildlife trade in our lifetimes, they envision a world where the sales of ivory, rhino horn and shark fin are eliminated – ‘When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too’.
This week Jade Clayson, Co-Founder of Thailand Elephants, talks to us about some of the positive things that are happening in Thailand…
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) is one of the most successful orphan elephant rescue (and many other animals) and rehabilitation organisations in the world. Daphne Sheldrick, widow of David continues on their hard work with her family and loyal workers. They have managed to hand raise over 150 infant elephants and accomplished their long-term aim of reintegrating them back into the wild herds, in which many have gone on to have their own healthy calves. Daphne is now a recognised International authority on the rearing of wild creatures and is the first person to have perfected the milk formula and necessary husbandry for infant milk-dependent Elephants and Rhinos. Iworry.org is a continuous campaign run by the DSWT.
Save The Elephants are working on a campaign with the local community to reduce crop destruction and conflict by utilising African honey bees. Elephants naturally and instinctively avoid bees. The project, led by Dr. Lucy King explores the use of beehive fences as a natural elephant deterrent creating a social and economic boost to poverty stricken rural communities through sustainable harvesting of ‘Elephant-Friendly Honey’. The project is calibrated by Oxford University, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Save The Elephants.
Wildlife SOS is an amazing organisation who works to rescue neglected animals and offer them a better life. From elephants, to reptiles, to leopards, to many more. In regards of elephants they reach out and help elephants living in urban environments that are wounded, malnourished and dehydrated or those being used illegally and commercially under deprived conditions. They offer medical services and train mahouts focusing the training on positive reinforcement. Wildlife SOS also take action to remove abused elephants from the streets and to help them to retire to their elephant sanctuaries. They are working on a major ongoing project to save India’s Temple Elephants.
Somebody else who has shone lately is Leonardo DiCaprio, calling for action on climate change in his Oscar Winning speech. ““Making ‘The Revenant’ was about the relationship between man and nature … Climate change is real. It’s happening right now”. It was, in my eyes so rewarding to see someone famous, truly care and make comment on the importance of our environment and its vulnerability to climate change. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) is dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants. They work in 4 key areas: protecting biodiversity, wildlands conservation, oceans conservation, climate change. LDF donated $1 million to The Elephant Crisis Fund to help protect elephants.
Then we also have the hundreds of increasingly popular eco-tourism projects across the globe that are fighting against (and in competition) with animal cruel tourist camps (riding, shows; basketball, painting, football, tricks, circus, performances). All these projects focus on elephant welfare, many funded by volunteers who are given the opportunity to experience elephants in their natural environment. The shift in eco volunteer projects is booming and this is all down to awareness and social media. Find our list of ethical elephant venues in Thailand – www.thailandelephants.org
You can follow many of these organisations on Facebook and Twitter, enabling you to see their success stories and follow marvelous updates. Many of these organisations don’t just work with elephants, but focus on all species being important, equal and vital to a healthy ecosystem.
The key to success in conservation is awareness, positivity, community involvement and understanding.
Be an ethical traveler, do your research before you visit ANY animal venue. Remember that if you can touch it, stroke it, have a selfie with it, ride it, hug it – that there welfare is more than likely poor and you are only funding cruelty.
Jade Clayson, Co-Founder of Thailand Elephants. Look out for my next blog where I shall be sharing my conservation experiences on my 4 month trip to South Africa…
If you need any help or advice with your trip please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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