Save the Asian Elephants: Take Action Now!

SAVE THE ASIAN ELEPHANTS

SOME DISTURBING FACTS, AND A REQUEST FOR HELP

Populations of Asian elephants have fallen from an estimated one million in the late 19th Century to scarcely 40,000 today. 30,000 of these exist in the wild (of which 60% in India) and around 10,000 are captive. This decline is mainly due to poaching for ivory, capture of wild elephants for use in tourist attractions and temples and loss of elephants’ natural habitat caused by expanding human activities. The Asian elephant is classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Capture from the wild often entails slaughtering the mothers and other herd members who attempt to protect their young. The captured juveniles are then ‘tamed’ by a process known as “Pajan”. The elephants are forced into a pen and tied with ropes to prevent them moving. They are deprived of water, food and sleep. They are beaten with rods, chains and bull-hooks (a rod with sharp metal hooks at the striking end) and stabbed with knives and nails, often in front of their distressed mothers. The practice is designed to break their spirits and make them submissive to their owners for use in the tourism industry for activities such as elephant rides, elephant painting, etc. Many die from the brutality of the process.Many elephants are also deliberately blinded in one eye,either by gouging with a stick or by beating on the part of the head which causes blindness. This is supposedly to stop elephants being scared by traffi‎c,and of course also to break their spirit.

The welfare of captured elephants is often poor. Many are chained for long periods so that they have very limited movement. In some cases the chains have spikes that can lead to severe wounds. Many are kept in isolation with few opportunities for normal social interaction; often there is insufficient shade, little or no veterinary care and inadequate, unhealthy diets. Injured and unfit elephants, including blind ones, are sometimes forced to work.

During festivals elephants may be forced to stand for hours in the heat without any protection from the sun. Often all four legs are shackled. The elephants have to endure the noise of firecrackers, ceremonial drumming and the loud noise of the crowd. There are many authoritative reports of elephants in Temples suffering severe cruelty.

We at Save the Asian Elephants (STAE) believe that most tourists are completely unaware that the elephants with which they are inter-acting have undergone such brutal treatment, and we are sure that most people would not want to perpetuate this suffering if they were aware of it. Our mission is to raise global awareness of this abuse in the hope and belief that tourists and tourism companies will co-operate in this mission to eradicate this abuse, tourists by avoiding such venues, and tourism companies by ceasing to offer such venues. That way, the venues will close and abused elephants will be released into sanctuaries to live out their days in peace.

 

WHAT WE ASK

1. We urge tourists to India, Thailand and all over South East Asia to avoid all elephant venues which involve elephant interaction, and instead to visit only “genuine” elephant sanctuaries or wildlife reserves where there is no such inter-action, many of which contain elephants rescued from such cruelty.(Please see our website for what we regard as “genuine” sanctuaries).

2. Please spread the message as far and wide as you can, and the role of STAE.

3. Please report to STAE any abuses you discover on your travels.

And please, the next time you see an elephant acting a transport vehicle, remember the terrible journey it has suffered to get there, and ask yourself if you want to benefit from such suffering.

 

Peter Collins is a lawyer, animal welfare campaigner and member of the Steering Committee of STAE.

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OVERVIEW

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BACKGROUND

The plight of elephants in Africa is widely recognised.  But far less is known of the even more desperate threats facing Asian (or Asiatic) elephants, whose surviving population is barely 10% that of African elephants.  Official statistics are mostly estimates based on data of varying quality, and so can be unreliable.  But the picture is bleak: numbers of wild Asian elephants have declined from estimates of a million or more in the late 19th Century to scarcely 40,000 today.  Around 30,000 of these exist in the wild (of which about 60% in India) and around 10,000 are captive.  The majority inhabit the Indian subcontinent (India and Sri Lanka). Although their range has diminished drastically, elephants are also still found, in dwindling numbers, in parts of Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. In some  places, such as Java, the indigenous elephant population is now completely lost. The Asian elephant has been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1986, the population having declined by over 50% in its past three generations, estimated at 60 to 75 years.

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CAUSES OF DECLINE

The dramatic collapse in Asian elephant numbers (of all four subspecies – Indian, Sri Lankan, Bornean and Sumatran) is chiefly attributable to the degradation and loss of their natural habitat, to their live capture for brutal commercial exploitation for human entertainment and to ivory poaching.  Their natural forest habitat is increasingly encroached upon and fragmented by burgeoning human habitation and cultivation, forcing the elephants into contact with man, when they are shot or poisoned.  Many more die from electrocution from power cables and collisions with trains.  Surviving herds are smaller and cut off from other groups as their ancient migratory routes (‘corridors’) are obstructed by human activity.  This impedes gene flow and genetic strength, increasing their vulnerability to disease and illness.  Few concessions are made for the wellbeing of captive elephants. The treatment they receive – babies and adults alike – is often brutal, as our Gallery of photographs shows.

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WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

After millions of years, Asian elephants face extinction in our lifetime and by our hands.

Save The Asian Elephants is a not for profit association of prominent professionals, experts and campaigners that informs public opinion on the brutal capture, beating, poaching and abuse for festivals and tourism of these wondrous but beleagured creatures and the plunder of their habitat; and exerts influence on governments, politicians and the tourist industry to adopt solutions it advances.

[/vc_column]

OVERVIEW

[/vc_column]

BACKGROUND

The plight of elephants in Africa is widely recognised.  But far less is known of the even more desperate threats facing Asian (or Asiatic) elephants, whose surviving population is barely 10% that of African elephants.  Official statistics are mostly estimates based on data of varying quality, and so can be unreliable.  But the picture is bleak: numbers of wild Asian elephants have declined from estimates of a million or more in the late 19th Century to scarcely 40,000 today.  Around 30,000 of these exist in the wild (of which about 60% in India) and around 10,000 are captive.  The majority inhabit the Indian subcontinent (India and Sri Lanka). Although their range has diminished drastically, elephants are also still found, in dwindling numbers, in parts of Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and China. In some  places, such as Java, the indigenous elephant population is now completely lost. The Asian elephant has been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 1986, the population having declined by over 50% in its past three generations, estimated at 60 to 75 years.

[/vc_column]
[/vc_column]

CAUSES OF DECLINE

The dramatic collapse in Asian elephant numbers (of all four subspecies – Indian, Sri Lankan, Bornean and Sumatran) is chiefly attributable to the degradation and loss of their natural habitat, to their live capture for brutal commercial exploitation for human entertainment and to ivory poaching.  Their natural forest habitat is increasingly encroached upon and fragmented by burgeoning human habitation and cultivation, forcing the elephants into contact with man, when they are shot or poisoned.  Many more die from electrocution from power cables and collisions with trains.  Surviving herds are smaller and cut off from other groups as their ancient migratory routes (‘corridors’) are obstructed by human activity.  This impedes gene flow and genetic strength, increasing their vulnerability to disease and illness.  Few concessions are made for the wellbeing of captive elephants. The treatment they receive – babies and adults alike – is often brutal, as our Gallery of photographs shows.

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[/vc_column]

WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

After millions of years, Asian elephants face extinction in our lifetime and by our hands.

Save The Asian Elephants is a not for profit association of prominent professionals, experts and campaigners that informs public opinion on the brutal capture, beating, poaching and abuse for festivals and tourism of these wondrous but beleagured creatures and the plunder of their habitat; and exerts influence on governments, politicians and the tourist industry to adopt solutions it advances.

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