Thursday, 10 April 2014


Hope for Elephants
Carol Buckley knows Elephants. She has over three decades of experience caring for former zoo or circus Elephants in the USA at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary and five years ago Carol moved to the international stage, working to improve welfare and care of Asian elephants in Asian countries. 

In 2009, Carol founded Elephant Aid International to assist working and captive Elephant's welfare needs. She has "...developed revolutionary non-dominant management systems and holistic healthcare programmes that support the recovery of elephants while ensuring autonomy." 
[Read More about Carol's Work Here]

Background reading on Elephant's in Asia and tourism here

An Elephant in Chains is the Epitome of Cruelty
Working Elephants across Asia are chained when not working. For logging Elephants this could mean for the entire rainy season, when they are not required to haul logs. For temple Elephants days and weeks go by when they are kept chained, chains at front and back, sometimes unable to move even a few inches. They are forced to stand in their own excrement and urine, causing foot disease, their joints swell and their immune systems suffer because of the inflammation. It is also known that bull Elephants used for religious and cultural ceremonies in India are routinely either fully or partially blinded to gain better control. 

Chaining; or incarceration in a small place, with no stimulation induces stereotypic behaviour. If an elephant is pacing one step back one forward, or head bobbing, or swaying they are psychologically damaged. All Captive animals if kept in inadequate housing display this behaviour, bears, lions and tigers pace relentlessly up and back along a cage front their entire lives, or stand swaying their heads. It is psychological torture.

An Elephant displaying stereotypic behaviour lives with human-induced mental illness, they are usually kept alone, they have no opportunity for natural behaviours.
As Carol says "For Asia's elephants, life in captivity is filled with pain, isolation, and despair"

From Elephant Aid International Brochure: Download here

Chain Free Means Pain Free
Chain free at the  Biodiversity Conservation Center Chitwan. Photo (c) Carol Buckley
The report of this project can be found here 
Carol Buckley's Elephant Aid International is changing the face of Elephant care, one elephant at a time.

In January 2013 Elephant Aid International completed their first Chain-Free Hattisar Project at the National Trust for Nature Conservation – Biodiversity Conservation Center Chitwan in Nepal. [pictured above]

The Chain Free Corral Project is rolling out to other locations in Nepal and Thailand. The pilot project has been successful and provides the Elephants with the opportunity to roam chain free, interact, play, dust engage in natural behaviours and be with their own families or herd in a natural setting. The success of the project is down to the dedication of Carol Buckley and her supporters across the world. 

Or watch on Youtube

The 2013 Pilot Project report states "Six elephants, ranging from six months to seventy-plus years, live in five interconnected chain -free corrals designed to improve their welfare. The Elephants spend an average of fifteen hours in the hattisar a day. In the past they were hobbled by both front legs, chained under a shelter that prevented natural posturing and healthy physical activity."

How it Works
"The fences are a solar powered energiser with a double battery back up. Just three hours of sunlight will charge the batteries for ten days use. Specifically designed for WIldlife, the coral administers a mild shock upon contact. Due to the pulsating current, it is virtually harmless. being highly sensitive to the clicking sound of the current, most Elephants avoid the fence without ever coming in contact with it."

What's Next
The Chain Free Corral Project is now creating new corrals in both Nepal and at two locations in Thailand. This is the leading edge of Elephant Care and creates a life-worth-living for the Elephants who benefit from their construction.

You Can Help
Funds are required to build the new Chain Free Corals. 
"A chain-free corral system includes concreted metal corner posts, metal fence posts, topes (full post protectors), six strands of wire, insulators, emergency shut off switch, power indicator light, solar panels, energy storage batteries and an energizer to run the fence. Fencing is priced by the running foot. A donation of $17.70 purchases one running foot of the six-strand corral fencing system including materials and installation by a professional team from IBEX India."

"15 elephant stables housing 63 elephants used for conservation work in Chitwan National Park, Nepal will benefit from the construction of chain-free corrals in Nepal. Full grown tuskers, juveniles and mothers and their calves will all benefit from this unprecedented project to improve welfare for captive-held elephants in Nepal. The governments decision to release their elephants from chains is monumental, putting Nepal at the top of the list of countries working to improve elephant welfare."
The costs for this project are large - the Nepal Project cost is $441,000 of which at time of publication $20,000+ has been raised by donation.

Donate directly to the Nepal Chain Free Project Here
[Page resolves to:]

There are two projects for Thailand - Soriada Salwala's Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Hospital and Katherine Connor's Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (BLES). Both organisations are run by dynamic women with the care of Elephant's front and centre to their work and ethical care. Elephant Aid International is assisting both to build chain free corrals.

Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Hospital
"We have the privilege and honor of providing a chain-free corral for elephants living at Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital. The first and only private hospital for elephants in Thailand, FAE pioneered prosthesis for elephants who 
have lost limbs from stepping on land mines."

The costs for the FAE project is $20,000 of which at time of publication $12,000+ has been raised by donation.

Donate directly to the FAE Chain Free Project Here
[Page resolves to:]

Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (BLES)
"We have the privilege and honor of providing chain-free corrals for elephants living at Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary. This true sanctuary is setting a stellar example of putting the needs of captive-held elephants first and foremost while educating the public about the plight of elephants in the modern world."

The costs for the BLES project is $60,000 of which at time of publication $13,500+ has been raised by donation.

Chain free and bonded. Mother and calf. Photo (c) Carol Buckley

Background Reading
Thank you for your interest. You can read more about the practices involved in breaking elephants to human service and what you can do to help on For Elephants International post at:
"Phajaan | Breaking an Elephant's Spirit"


Working Elephants Are Broken Elephants
In Asia, Elephants have been dominated and used in human service for millennia. They are abused, chained, broken, psychologically and physically neglected. The life long servitude for these elephants start as young calves, they may be subjected to the horrendous practice of breaking. In Thailand this is known as the phajaan, literally translated phajaan means 'to separate' - a phajaan could be, for instance, a divorce between two people - or it can mean to separate the spirit of the elephant from him or herself to become compliant to the will of humans and forced to work. Elephants are used in the construction and logging industries as well as tourism for trekking, shows and street begging. 

[See more about the Phajaan in this Facebook Album maintained by advocate Brandy Michelle]  

The Last Elephants in Thailand
The multiple award winning documentary film, The Last Elephants in Thailand  by Michelle Mizner and Don Tayloe is a "... stunning statement on elephant abuse in Thailand and beyond." 

This 40 minute documentary The Last Elephants of Thailand about Thailand's captive elephants and their lives - including footage of the phajaan is available for viewing now on YouTube.

Or watch on YouTube Here:

You Can Help
Link to Elemotion Responsible Tourism
Visit to learn about Responsible Tourism and more about Elephants in Asia

Educate your Local Travel Agent
There is a very strong link between animals and tourism. Learn how to differentiate a good sanctuary from an unethical one by reading the information at the excellent education and advocacy page at

Approach your local travel agent in person, face to face advocacy is much stronger than cold call emails, and ask them if they book trips to Asia that include Elephant and wildlife activities. If they do - engage them in conversation about the issues for elephants and other wildlife, and ask for their email address. 

Follow up by sending them these links so they learn more about Asian Elephant Tourism and ask them to drop unethical products and destinations including the Tiger Temple from their product list.

The British Travel Association Ethical Animal Travel
Watch on YouTube here:
More here:

Suggested email text, if sending without a personal visit first, use either the first OR second paragraph as introduction, please edit accordingly.

Dear name here,

Thank you for spending the time to discuss Tourism and Animal Welfare with me. There is a very strong link between animals and tourism. 
I live in the local area and would like to reach out to assist your Travel Agency to provide Responsible and Ethical Animal tourism. There is a very strong link between animals and tourism.  

Please find below several useful links to help guide your decision making in tourism destinations for your clients that provide information and guidance for ethical tourism destinations.

ABTA - the British Travel Association has partnered with Born Free Foundation to create ethical animal welfare travel guidelines.  A specific guide is available to members or can be purchased by emailing: sustainabletourism [at]

Visit to read about the issues facing elephants and responsible elephant tourism in Asia.

An excellent documentary about the lives of working elephants in Thailand is available here:

If a package provider that supplies your suite of products includes places such as the Tiger Temple, Elephant polo, Elephant shows that include painting, bike riding and dancing, or trekking then the destination is contributing to the abuse and cruelty faced by animals and Asian working elephants. 

Thank you for your time and I have hope that you will help create responsible tourism by educating clients on responsible destinations and that provide the best of care for the animals in the tourism industry. Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Yours sincerely
Name Here
Town Here

Sign the Petition
Created by independent advocate Heidi Raynowska aimed at The Government of Thailand.

Protect Elephants from the Practice of ‘Breaking their Spirit’

Help Elephants Become Chain Free
Working Elephants across Asia are chained when not working. Carol Buckley's Elephant Aid International is working to create better living conditions for elephants across Asia. In this article For Elephants International explores Carol's work and how you can help her break the chains for elephants in Thailand and Nepal.

Read the article and how you can help at

For Elephants!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014


UPDATE 7th APRIL. 2014

 ''The Bombay High Court has ordered the release of elephant Sunder to sanctuary. The 14-year-old Sunder who has been in captivity and was kept chained inside a dark shed at a Temple in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra for seven years will finally be free from the torture.'' 


PETA India Release:



With deep thanks to Elephant Advocacy for collaboration in the SUNDER | Indian Embassy Action event

Trumpets and thanks to Brandy Michelle for her dedicated assistance & tireless advocacy for Sunder. 
Thanks to Karen Ess for her knowledge, assistance and care throughout. 
Excellent work by all Free Sunder Now.
All KUDOS to PETA India for staying the course for this elephant.

Please show your appreciation and donate to PETA India here:

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


For years the Presidential Herd has been protected due to the hard work and good auspice of one Australian woman, Sharon Pincott. Her books detail the sagas of trying to protect this herd of elephants against the many threats present in Zimbabwe. Thanks to Sharon's hard work, the herd was protected by Presidential Decree – in the 1990’s and reiterated by order in 2011. Her work is now under threat like never before.

A Zimbawean national and her American cohort have illegally taken possession of the land known as Kanondo area and renamed it “Gwango Conservancy”. The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has reported that Elisabeth Pasalk (or Freeman) and her relatives and associates are linked to trophy hunting, and reports that this area may be listed on a USA based Hunting website known as – area Matesi 1 on Hunting Legends.

The worst of it is, that they have disrupted the activities of the photographic safaris, these operators are the eyes and ears of the African bush who assist in keeping the herd and other wildlife safe. Clients who have booked specifically to see the Presidential Herd and the opportunities this provides for a wonderful safari are now denied entrance to the land. Of most concern is that Sharon Pincott who has overseen the conservation of this herd since the 1990’s has been intimidated and denied access to this area.

The Hon. Minister for Environment, Saviour Kusukwere could live up to his name and be the saviour of these elephants. All we are asking is that the Cabinet Directive issued in December 2013 be implemented and Elisabeth Pasalk or Elisabeth Freeman and her staff and cohort/s be evicted from the land, the operators and Ms Pincott be allowed to immediately resume conservation and eco-tourism activities for the safety of the Elephants and other wildlife in this area.

[Read More from Zimbabwe: The Big Smell below Actions]


1)      Facebook Action
Go to Saviour Kasukuwere’s FB page here:
Please request of The Hon Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere…to ensure enforcement of the Cabinet Directive Dec. 2013 and immediately evict
the occupiers and all staff/cohorts and ensure the land is reopened immediately for access.

Facebook Share
Share this post to your Facebook wall (cut and paste)

URGENT | Help the Presidential Elephants in Zimbabwe

2) Twitter
Send this tweet.

  protected by Pres. decree Their land is occupied They are not safe Ensure Cabinet Directive Dec 2013

Send this text – or write your own

(please be respectful)
to The Hon Minister Saviour Kasukuwere at

Dear Hon Minister Kasukuwere,

I urge you to immediately enforce the Cabinet Directive of December 2013 and evict the occupiers and any staff/cohorts from the land subject to that order on the Kanondo conservation area (State land) adjacent to the Hwange NP. The Presidential Herd is subject to Presidential protection, and the area’s existing photographic safari operators and Ms Sharon Pincott protect the elephants by their presence and active conservation activities, they have been denied access by the illegal occupiers.

That this area has been grabbed and occupied is outrageous, that they have not yet been evicted, despite the Cabinet Directive, smacks of corruption and connections. The new illegal “Gwando Conservancy” is advertising for clients.

Please be the saviour to these elephants and immediately evict the people responsible for the take-over and deny them re-entry, according to the law. All kudos to you when this is done.

Yours sincerely,
Name Here
Country Here

Look closely at just how important an area this must be for the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe. STATE LAND Kanondo on the Hwange Estate. And then imagine it being grabbed by one individual, who claims it as their own personal property (negatively impacting Presidential Elephant monitoring and patrols, and trying to put a stop to registered game-drives by others). It has to surely now be time for the Zimbabwe government to put these ongoing land claim sagas right, once and for all, in these key areas of Zimbabwe’s flagship herd of elephants.


What is that familiar saying?? – “THIS SMELLS FUNNY”…. Well this, in fact, REEKS. And I can no longer sit back and simply watch the shocking decline set in further. After many months of, publicly, keeping relatively quiet, I feel that I now have an obligation to Zimbabwe’s flagship herd to speak out on this issue. And you, as an interested party, have an obligation to absorb these facts and react according to what your gut tells you. PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY READ THIS POST. This ‘land grab’ situation in the key home-range of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe so reeks of incompetence and lack of care, of ignorance, of greed, of covering butts, of back-handers, and of the corruption that this country is supposedly, right now, trying to stamp out. Why are those involved so seemingly afraid of one and other that they can’t execute a simple Cabinet directive? And I must apologise sincerely to those tourists who have already experienced disappointment. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


 Tell Rakuten to end elephant and whale sales from Environmental Investigation Agency

“Rakuten’s ads are effectively as deadly as giving bullets to elephant poachers and harpoons to whalers." 
EIA President Allan Thornton 

The Environmental Investigation Agency released a hardhitting report today 18th March 2014 exposing Japanese company Rakuten for the sale of Elephant's Ivory and Whale's flesh across their online store.

"In February 2014, searches for ‘ivory’ on yielded more than 28,000 ads for elephant ivory products"
"In June 2013, a search for ‘whale meat’ on yielded 773 whale products for sale...‘whale’ generated over 1,200 food products. [of species protected by CITES]"
"The Rakuten Group is one of the world's biggest internet service companies, with operations and subsidiaries throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.It provides a range of services including e-commerce, e-books and e-reading, travel and banking."



EIA has produced this short campaign film in the style of Rakuten’s own ‘We R …’ commercial to raise awareness of its sales of elephant and whale products.
Please share it among your family, friends and contacts, and embed or link to it in any of the online forums and communities you frequent, such as Facebook and Google+.

________END FILM_____


New 20/3/14

Please take action now to help EiA tell Rakuten to stop these sales.

1. Share the Campaign Film

2. Share the Campaign Posters
On social network sites, particularly also Pinterest as Ratuken has a large share in this online portal.
3. Send these Tweets

If you are a Twitter user, send a Tweet to Rakuten calling on it to ban all sales of elephant and whale products. You can compose your own, or use the sample Tweets below. Let's get this trending
• To’s official Twitter account: 
@rakutenshopping: Please stop selling #elephant #ivory & #whale meat #NoRakutenBloodMoney
• To Rakuten Japan:
@RakutenJP: #象牙 および #鯨肉 の販売を止めてください。 #楽天市場 #楽天 #NoRakutenBloodMoney
• To Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani’s English language account: 
@hmikitani_e: Please stop selling #elephant #ivory & #whale meat #NoRakutenBloodMoney
• To Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani’s Japanese language account: 
@hmikitani: #象牙 および #鯨肉 の販売を止めてください。 #楽天市場 #楽天 #NoRakutenBloodMoney
You can also follow EIA’s Twitter account @EIAinvestigator and reTweet their messages about this issue.

Added 20/3/14 
Also the HSI Petition Tweet: 
• Urge Japan's largest online market to stop selling ivory & whale & dolphin meat. via @HSIGlobal #NoRakutenBloodMoney


Sunday, 16 March 2014

Saving a Life | Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya operates multiple Mobile Veterinary Units across the country. They have a cub aircraft that locates and takes veterinary staff into remote locations to assist elephants who have been wounded by humans. The vets attend to some horrific wounds, caused by snares, arrows and bullets. They are the front line, treating wild elephants in the field.

One such incident occurred on 28th February 2014, when the DSWT Cub spotted a herd of ten elephants. A young bull was trailing at the back of the herd with a large wound on his right side. The pilot landed on the road nearby to call Dr Pohorn, the Kenya Wildlife Service Vet who works with the Tsavo Mobile Veterinary team.

This is the story of 'Saving a Life...'

or watch on YouTube here:
Warning: graphic images of wound and veterinary procedure

The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit covers both Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park and the surrounding ranches and dispersal areas, also assisting with cases from Shimba Hills National Reserve and Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu Hills.

Read more about the DSWT Mobile Vet services: Mobile Vet

Donate directly to DSWT for Mobile Veterinary Unit
Go here:
Choose drop down at 'Donation For = Mobile Veterinary Unit' 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Background | The Pain of Being a Temple Elephant
Sunder, Joytiba Temple, Kolhapur
"Most of the captive elephants, owned by temples or others, live in isolation, are underfed and suffer from diseases."
Read the article about the life of temple elephant's on India's Frontline Media here:


Sunder the Elephant, gifted to Joytiba Temple, Kolhapur by Sri Vinay Kore 6 years ago, has been ordered by the High Court (HC) of India to be relocated to The Elephant Centre, Bangladore as a result of abuse and neglect endured whilst in the possession of the Temple. Despite this HC order issued December 10 2013 and reiterated on December 23 at a further hearing of the HC, Sunder is now in the possession of Sri Vinay Kore MLA and has not been relinquished to the sanctuary

These two photographs (from left 2012 and above left 2013)  show skin damage and an eye injury, sustained at different times - reportedly from having been struck, likeley by a bull hook. Thankfully it is believed that Sunder's sight has returned due to care provided by an animal charity. However while he remains in the property of his current owners and the same mahout he is at risk.

Watch on Youtube here:

On March 12th 2014 - the Indian High Court will (hopefully) finally decide on the fate of Sunder, a temple elephant at Joytiba Temple in Kohluphur, India. His life is abuse, mistreatment malnourishment and he is a religio-political pawn in a game. The main players preventing Sunder's release are  Sri Vinay Kore, an independent Member of Parliament and the District Collector (a high official), Sri R.R. Mane. Sri Mane is also the President of Devasthan Management Committee which oversees management of the Joytiba Temple. A conflict of interest, writ large. Both have allegedly perjured themselves at court.

PETA India is running the case for Sunder and have done extremely hard yards for the past two years. The case should be resolved tomorrow in the High Court  - however, until Sunder is moved to sanctuary we remain standing with PETA India and the many advocates around the world who are advocating for his release.

There is a backlog of cases to be heard at court, and Sunder's case has been postponed again. This is not a political ploy - it is a case of an over burdened system. News on India's court system here:


1. Send the email text to your Indian Embassy
Go here for text and embassy details

2. Join the Facebook Events for further actions
SUNDER | Indian Embassy Action (an Fei action)
Free Sunder Now (by a coalition of likeminded advocates)

3. Stay connected to PETA India
Go here to take action via PETA

For Sunder...