Elephant Aid Internation – Newly Launched NGO
HOHENWALD, Tenn., (November 8, 2010) – Carol Buckley, co-founder and former CEO and president of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, has launched a new nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the welfare of elephants worldwide.
Elephant Aid International (EAI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will develop programs to initiate widespread change in the care and management of elephants. EAI will take a hands-on approach to working with mahouts (elephant trainers), tourist facilities, elephant welfare groups, researchers and government officials to improve elephant welfare in captivity and the wild, as well as improving the lives of the people who care for them.
EAI’s first projects will take place in Thailand, India and Nepal over the next year, including:
- Mahout workshops: instruction in the use of positive reinforcement and a more humane approach to elephant management.
- Elephant foot care course: instructing mahouts in proper foot trimming techniques to help improve foot health and eliminate life-threatening osteomyelitis (bone infection).
- The development of government-mandated elephant care centers (sanctuaries) in India.
EAI has pioneered a new system, Compassionate Elephant Management, which will eliminate antiquated, dominance-based training and result in improved elephant welfare.
“Asia is primed for change but, for now, local leaders are unclear how to proceed,” said EAI President and CEO Carol Buckley. “New legislation in India that bans elephants in circuses and zoos, coupled with the requests that EAI has received to assist with educating mahouts in Thailand and Nepal, provides us the opportunity to directly influence the welfare of elephants.”
“Not only will EAI help elephants in need,” she added, “the care centers we develop will be a model for a country struggling to develop solutions for its elephant welfare problems.”
EAI’s work is based on understanding the culture and traditions of the countries in which it works, and respect for the men and women who live and work with elephants. EAI will seek to improve the standard of living of mahouts, their families and communities by:
- Removing begging elephants from the streets of Asia and exploring alternative revenue generating sources.
- Helping to improve sanitation and living conditions for mahouts, their families and their villages.
Elephants in Asia were once revered members of multigenerational tribal families. Entire villages devoted themselves to their care. Mahouts were respected members of society and handed down their traditions from father to son.
Today, however, because there is not enough work to keep elephants employed, they have become an exploited commodity. Businessmen buy them to work in illegal logging operations, tourist camps and street begging, and hire untrained boys to manage them. There are only fragile fragments remaining of the mahout-elephant traditions that have survived for thousands of years.
“With our years of experience in elephant care, sanctuary development, elephant rescue and rehabilitation and development of positive elephant management systems, EAI has been invited to collaborate with other organizations in Southeast Asia to improve elephant welfare,” said Buckley. “These projects will be the first in a series that EAI will undertake over the coming years. As our projects become self-sustaining, we will continue to take on new and groundbreaking initiatives, expanding our efforts to improve elephant welfare around the globe.”
For more information on EAI, log on to http://www.elephantaidinternational.org.
About Elephant Aid International
Elephant Aid International (EAI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established to raise global consciousness about the lives of elephants both in captivity and in the wild. With the combined efforts of international scientists, veterinarians, mahouts (elephant handlers), elephant caregivers and elephant welfare supporters, EAI is helping to change how the public relates to elephants; how mahouts and elephant caregivers train elephants; and how captive elephants are cared for worldwide. EAI is also helping to improve the social status of mahouts through education and job advancement. By providing education and hands-on assistance, EAI is working to end the worldwide suffering of elephants…one elephant at a time. Learn more at http://www.elephantaidinternational.org.