Cute elephant plays with giant ribbon like a true hero of fun »
The Dodo posted about this forever a while ago and just how cute is it? Here’s a hint: SO FREAKING CUTE. The choreography gets really elaborate around :43.
This lil’ ele is a resident at the Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary in Northern Thailand.
The Elephant who cried when he was freed might go back into captivity! »
Do you guys remember the wonderful story of Raju? We were so so so happy when Raju was rescued two months ago. This is his new life, with all his fresh jackfruit he gets now:
But now his cruel former “owner”/abuser has filed legal documents to take him back! YOU CAN HELP!
From Wildlife SOS, India:
What you can do now:
1.) Sign the petition.
2.) Donate to our elephant legal fund (select “elephant legal fund” from the dropdown list on the donation form)
3.) Send an email (recipients and instructions here)
Show them that the world cares! Raju should never wear chains again!
UPDATE: I wrote this Friday, they’ve added an FAQ since then.
Elephant Raju is saved after 50 years of abuse, cries during rescue »
This is Raju! See how happy he looks? Well happiness is a brand new feeling for Raju as he was only recently rescued from years of abuse. Get the tissues! No, really, I might be crying a bit.
Raju had been working as a begging elephant in Allahabad. People would give the mahout tips in exchange for ‘blessings’ by Raju. Most of the food he got was inappropriate for an elephant. However, half starving, Raju would eat almost anything.
His mahout would beat him to make him keep begging and he was made to wear spiked chains that dug into his skin.
But after 50 years, Raju has finally been rescued, thanks to Wildlife SOS, India. Raju’s “owner” didn’t want to give him up:
His mahout and previous owner were non-cooperative and made things very difficult to rescue Raju. They put more chains on him and pulled the spikes tighter and then had people blocking the roads leading to the rescue truck.
Awful!!! Makes me so mad! But Wildlife SOS did not give up! But after dealing with those terrible people, Raju himself was a challenge. It took a while to gain enough trust with Raju to get him on the truck to safety, but after coaxing with fruit, they say Raju realized he was finally in good hands, and he began to cry.
From Wildlife SOS:
Have you ever seen a grown elephant cry? This photo is a reminder to all that elephants have strong emotional lives and they have the ability to suffer deeply. This photo was taken of Raju when the rescue mission first began. He had a flood of tears from his eyes when our team first moved in to secure his freedom Some would question that Raju was truly weeping. However, our team that witnessed this moment know differently. This photo is shared at this moment not with the intention of depressing everybody, but with the hope that we can use it as an educational tool to enlighten others that elephants around the world need our help.
Here’s Raju now! This is him munching on a jackfruit at the sanctuary. He looks so pleased!!!!
And Wildlife SOS bought a literal truckload of jackfruit for him!
These are the elephants he will now live with:
He’ll finally have elephant companions!
L.A. bans painful tools used to train elephants! »
Infuriating still from Peta’s "Elephants in Circuses: Training & Tragedy"
On Wednesday, Los Angeles sided with the elephants when the city council banned the use of “bullhooks, pitchforks, baseball bats and other goads that circus trainers use to control elephants and other exotic animals.”*
First of all, “pitchforks and baseball bats”?!
Secondly, thank you, L.A. The city council’s vote was unanimous (faith in humanity momentarily restored), and the ban takes effect in January 2017, a delay “meant to give circuses time to change how they handle elephants or remove them from the shows.” (You know which choice I’m rooting for.)
Naturally Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey spokesman Stephen Payne (insert snide remark about how much pain elephants are caused by this abuse), was pissed, and said the law was “completely unnecessary.” He went on to say that this new ban “would force the cancellation of Los Angeles circus events” (excellent!) and City News Service quoted him as saying that the circus may move to a venue outside the city limits. (I see a PETA protest happening.)
City Councillor Paul Koretz said using bullhooks is “inhumane and unhealthy,” and that “the circus is welcome in Los Angeles, just without the bullhooks. … We’re hoping that they follow the model of other circuses that don’t use exotic animals.”
Happy day for the elephants and other “exotic animals!”
Court rules to send abused elephant Sunder to sanctuary! »
This is exciting! Sunder has been chained and abused for years while PETA India has campaigned for his release. Finally, the high court of Bombay ruled in favor of PETA! HUZZAH!
ONE PROBLEM. Sunder was supposed to be freed in 2012:
The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then spirited away at the behest of Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained in chains. In December 2013, PETA obtained video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined Sunder found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down.
It wasn’t a ruling by the high court so maybe it’s different this time. Regardless, I’m happy that the government of India is on Sunder’s side! And let’s all hope to the highest hope that this time Sunder gets his sanctuary! My heart goes out to you, sweet ele!
LA bans bullhooks! Huzzah! »
Yay! Good news for eles! Los Angeles has officially banned the use of bullhooks—i.e. that awful fire poker-looking thing above that Ringling Brothers and other circuses use to “guide” elephants. They also happen to use it to beat elephants. Because they love them so much.
As the LA Times says, this kind of just makes it so circuses can’t go to LA. As the LA Times also says,
Stephen Payne, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., said the ordinance would have the effect of “kicking us out of Los Angeles.”
Ringling allows trainers and elephants to be in close proximity — or “free contact” — and therefore the tool must be used for safety purposes, Payne said. He contends that the company’s handlers use it professionally and humanely.
The Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums, which accredits North American zoos, has instructed all its members, by 2014, to allow only restricted contact between keepers and elephants — meaning there will be a barrier at all times between person and pachyderm. Although the association does not expressly prohibit bullhooks, restricted contact lessens the need to use them.
If the circus can’t come to town without bullhooks, then it shouldn’t come.
Sadly, apparently it might take up to three years to take effect but it’s still a super great advance in the terrible treatment of imprisoned eles.
A classic Megan Rascal cartoon.
The News You Need: Baby Elephant plays in mud, is cute as all get out »
Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!
Here’s your cute for the day—nay, for the month! Seriously, it’s ridic. This is little Navaan, born in a sanctuary in Thailand. His mother “worked” for an illegal logging operation until she stepped on a land-mind and couldn’t work anymore. So then she was forced into a breeding program. When she didn’t get preggers, Elephant Nature Park* was able to secure her as a new resident. But guess what! She was totally preggers! But no one knew. Then one night, bam! Navaan! And what a happy boy he is! Are you going to die from the cuteness? I plan on it.
*I love this from their site: “At ENP, there are no tricks. There are no rides. No elephant paintings can be bought. Here, these elephants are allowed to live their lives free from bullhooks, free from abuse.”
Guys, this is Ajabu, an orphaned elephant rescued just a month ago in Kenya.
Ajabu was just a day or two old when she was spotted all alone in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park on 4th April 2013. When it became apparent that there were no other elephants in the area, a call was put into the DSWT to rescue Ajabu.
Two weeks on and this tiny orphaned elephant is making good and steady progress at the DSWT’s Elephant Nursery in Nairobi National Park. Read the full rescue update on Ajabu and support her future by fostering her at DSWT.
Guys, she’s so little and she has to wear sunblock to protect her baby skin! What a darling. Thank goodness for organizations like the DSWT, who can rescue orphaned elephants and provide for their needs. Keep up with Ajabu and sponsor her and her fellow residents at DSWT online.
NYC: Protest the evil Ringling Brothers and their elephant-beating ways tonight! »
Lovely protest sign made for tonight by the lovely Jess Davis. Used entirely without her permission.
It’s billed as New York’s biggest circus protest in history and it’s tonight! I’m going to be there along with a few gagillion of my favorite animal lovers to tell Ringling that they are big d-bags! I hate them so much! How could you not? Eles are only the greatest animals and Ringling is so so evil to them.
The protest starts tonight at 6pm and goes until April 1st, at the Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Ave.). Please make it out to protest at least one show! Down with Ringling! Down with bullhooks! Up with eles!
The short, miserable lives of zoo elephants: A Seattle Times exposé »
[T]he decades-long effort by zoos to preserve and protect elephants is failing, exacerbated by substandard conditions and denial of mounting scientific evidence that most elephants do not thrive in captivity.
The Times did a first-of-its-kind analysis of 390 elephant fatalities at accredited U.S. zoos for the past 50 years. It found that most of the elephants died from injury or disease linked to conditions of their captivity, from chronic foot problems caused by standing on hard surfaces to musculoskeletal disorders from inactivity caused by being penned or chained for days and weeks at a time.
By 2003, the weight of scientific evidence that elephants failed to thrive in zoos, combined with pressure from animal-welfare groups worldwide, prompted U.S. agencies to dramatically slow the importation of wild elephants. An easy supply of elephants masked the premature deaths and decline of captive elephants in U.S. zoos. With their supply line nearly closed, zoos stepped up captive breeding to replenish the dying ranks.
[The Association of Zoos and Aquariums along with representatives from dozens of zoos that housed elephants] agreed to “speak and act with a unified voice” in claiming that elephants were thriving in zoos. Together, they hired a crisis-management firm and agreed to dub critics of elephant captivity as “extremists.” They also committed in writing to aggressively breed elephants, following a “species survival plan.”
That’s all from part one. Part two addresses zoos’ sneaky methods of importing wild elephants, and their efforts to keep their old, abused elephants out of sanctuaries like (Vegansaurus favorite) PAWS.
A consortium of zoos is also building its own sanctuary where zoos can send unwanted males. Officials broke ground in April on a 225-acre sanctuary called the National Elephant Center in Fellsmore, Fla. The first phase includes a 13,000-square-foot barn and enough pasture for nine elephants. The $15 million project will eventually house up to 36 elephants.
Accredited zoos also plan to use the center for breeding, one way to revitalize the nation’s elephant population.
Gift idea this year: Adopt a PAWS elephant. Zoos really are the grossest. If you want to show tiny children the magic of wild animals, take them to a sanctuary and let a nice staff person explain why putting animals on display is horrible in tiny-child-friendly terms. Or, you know, just watch nature videos on a big TV and recognize you can’t have everything.