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
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 here:www.youtube.com/0XZZzE2ot9E
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."
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."
DONATE for NEPAL
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
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DONATE for THAILAND
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.
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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.
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|Chain free and bonded. Mother and calf. Photo (c) Carol Buckley|
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"
"Phajaan | Breaking an Elephant's Spirit"