The Plight of Baby Elephants in Nepal

The plight of Samrat Gaj, a baby elephant at Sapana Village Lodge in Sauraha, Chitwan, draws the attention to the suffering of elephants born into the safari tourism industry in Nepal. Their abuse includes chaining, separation from the mother, cruel training, beatings and premature labour.

Born as a healthy calf on January 6, 2014, to mother Srijana Kali, Samrat Gaj was everyone’s darling at first. Successful births are rare among safari elephants, and Samrat seemed the happy exception. To enable the owner, Dhruba Giri, to unchain mother Srijana Kali and her calf, animal welfare organisations Himalayan Animal Trust and Animal Nepal supported with funds to build a chain free corral. The conditions were that the baby would be trained humanely, not work before the age of 13, and that the corral would be maintained.

When mother and baby were unchained and enabled to graze, scratch, play and sleep out in the open, and a humane trainer started his job, Samrat Gaj seemed to be one of the few elephants in captivity enjoying a happy childhood.

But that was about to change.

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Posted in abuse, chain free, Cruel training, Elephant Rides, Elephant Watch Nepal, Samrat Gaj, Sapana Village Lodge | 2 Comments

You don’t need to ride an elephant to enjoy one


Elephant buddies at Tiger Tops

Chitwan and elephant safaris seem to be synonyms. Most parents who bring their kids to to the jungle want to give them the experience of riding an elephant. So why do we oppose elephant rides? And is there an alternative? We recently visited Chitwan to find out.

It is early morning and we are moving through the jungle. We are far away from the busy touristy town of Sauraha (also known as Little Thamel). The luscious green buffer zone is filled with the sounds of birds and some barking deer. We are about to spot a male rhino, who is taking a bath in a mud pool close to the river.

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Posted in chain free, Elephant Rides, Elephant Watch Nepal | 3 Comments

Bad News for Our African Friends


From the Great Elephant Census

A stunning post at Global Citizen posits “Elephants could be the next generation’s dinosaurs” and highlights the latest results from the Great Elephant Census. What that implies is that our children (and our children’s children) may only be able to see African Elephant bones & dioramas in natural history museums, instead of seeing them alive and roaming on the savanna.

“With only 352,271 left (excluding those that may live in Namibia, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic), elephants may become the next generation’s dinosaur — an extinct creature of wonder. In fact, it’s likely that hundreds more elephants have died since the census was completed.”

As lovers of dinosaurs past, this is not what we want to see in our future. What say you?


Posted in elephants | Tagged | 4 Comments

Sri Lanka Also Brutal for the Asian Elephant

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Sri Lanka Elephant Abuse Video

This article from The Observer details how Sri Lanka’s elephants are often abused during buddhist festivals there.  From this report:

“Amateur videos showing elephants being abused by handlers during one of Sri Lanka’s biggest Buddhist festivals have recently emerged. This type of abuse is not new: our Observer, a veterinarian in Sri Lanka, says that elephant owners and authorities turn a blind eye to this type of behaviour for both financial and political reasons.”

This behavior is similar to what happens here in Nepal during Hindu festivals, where captive elephants are forced to behave contrary to their nature, and are housed adequately and kept chained by the leg when not “in use.”


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Elephant rides in Nepal have NOT improved despite claims, says EWN

Elephant Watch Nepal today issued a statement saying elephant riding in Nepal has not improved, despite claims by the industry. The statements responds to recent write ups promoting elephant safaris, claiming conditions are better here compared to Thailand and that the industry has improved conditions. In its statement EWN explains why elephant rides do not benefit conservation, nor the elephants, nor the country in general.



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EWN launches campaign to retire Pawan Kali

This gallery contains 10 photos.

EWN has launched a campaign to lobby for the retirement of the handicapped, 70+ safari elephant Pawan Kali. The elderly female suffers from countless health problems, including malnutrition, open wounds, a deformed leg, and scarring across the body. She is … Continue reading

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EWN gives kudos to Tiger Tops

ele1Elephant Watch Nepal gives kudos to Nepal’s oldest safari company, Tiger Tops, for unchaining its elephants and introducing responsible elephant tourism activities instead.

During a press conference on January 22, Tiger Tops chair Kristjan Edwards announced the move. “Tiger Tops introduced elephant safaris to the world. Half a decade later we now are ready to introduce a responsible way of using elephants in tourism,” he said.

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EWN launches elephant bathing awareness campaign

Elephant bath banner“Did you know that in Nepal one in five elephants suffer from Tuberculosis? Still enjoying that bath?” With that slogan EWN launched a campaign to create awareness about one of a lesser known health and safety risks related to elephant tourism.

In Nepal elephant tourism involves direct contact with captive elephants. Tourists are not only riding these majestic animals, they also touch, feed and take a bath while riding them. Few tourists are aware of the health and safety risks involved. In Nepal one of five captive elephants suffers from Tuberculosis. The treatment is long and intense, and generally sick elephants are back to work in a few weeks time. Continue reading

Posted in Awareness Raising, Elephant Rides, Elephant Watch Nepal, elephants, Nepal, Tuberculosis | 3 Comments

Pro Wildlife Germany Release Report / Fact Sheet

Pro Wildlife Germany, a prominent wildlife activist organization, has released a fact sheet detailing the horrendous situation here in Nepal in regards to captive elephants. The entire report can be downloaded here: Pro Wildlife Factsheet Asian_Nepal English Version

From Pro Wildlife Factsheet Asian_Nepal English Version

Captive Elephants Tortured in Nepal

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Lonely Planet Recommends 5 Elephant Attractions in Thailand; We Wish We Could Recommend Just One Here In Nepal

From Lonely Planet, image by Sarah ReidLonely Planet Destination Editor Sarah Reid recommends five elephant attractions in Thailand, and EWN is left hoping that we can someday recommend at least one here in Nepal. In the article linked below, Sarah succinctly describes the situation with elephantourism in Thailand, which is eerily similar to the situation found here in Nepal, and her 5 venue reviews provide a template for Nepal’s venues to pick up and implement, if only they would do so. Full article here:

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