Finally, some good news for elephants: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus announced last week it will be retiring all elephants from their acts by 2018. Although this is just one small step, and three years is a very long time to wait, I am grateful Ringling Bros. has finally caved into the pressures from the public and the animal welfare world. Let’s hope this is just the beginning, and that someday in the future all animals will be removed from senseless circus acts and other entertainment venues!
Speaking of elephants, a few years ago I had the amazing opportunity to meet Carol Buckley, one of my personal heroes and founder of Elephant Aid International, a nonprofit that creates elephant management systems to help caregivers ensure the best care for rescued elephants. Carol is the grandmother of elephant rights. She was forging a new, progressive way forward for elephant care even when it wasn’t cool, and even when people called her positive, non-coercive methods “crazy.” Guess what, now people all over the world are asking Carol to come and teach them! Carol is also very holistic in her approach; I was honored to teach her Reiki 1 in 2002. You can follow Carol’s inspiring work here.
If you love these gentle giants as much as I do, this YouTube channel is a great destination for news on elephants, their behaviors, rescue organizations and more. This is just one of their countless videos; it features amazing elephant movements in slow motion!
I am so grateful for all of the elephant sanctuaries around the world, and the volunteers who dedicate their lives to helping them. One example is Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand (named in memory of a baby elephant who used the world’s first elephant wheelchair), which does wonderful work creating safe and natural habitats for elephants, as does the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
On a parting note, here are some amazing pics of a baby elephant learning to walk for the first time! These pictures will warm your heart.
Have you worked with elephants at sanctuaries in the past? I would love to hear about it; please share your stories here!