So What do Killer Whales have in Common with Nepal’s Captive Elephants?

'This is not right': Former SeaWorld trainer recalls killer whale treatment

‘This is not right’: Former SeaWorld trainer recalls killer whale treatment

Captive orcas (as seen at Seaworlds around the globe) share at least one thing in common with Nepal’s captive Safari Elephants: their young are taken from mothers at a very early age in order to be trained, and in a very cruel way.

In ex-orca trainer John Hargrove’s new book “Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish” one can find striking similarities between the way that orcas are treated in captivity and the way that Nepal’s Asian Elephants are treated while working in Nepal’s Safari Ride Industry.  In addition to barbaric training methods, handlers of both classes of animal have been killed, and are often silenced when they try to speak up for their charges – animal owners just don’t want to hear it!

Polo Elephants in Chitwan, Nepal

Polo Elephants in Chitwan, Nepal

While this is extremely frustrating for animal trainers (and in Nepal’s case, mahouts), this is also an area of opportunity for all concerned. If Nepal’s mahouts can also be so empowered to speak out, perhaps more businesses would start listening to our pleas for ethical treatment of animals that entertain humans. In that regard, EWN will be exploring new ways to empower mahouts. Mahouts understand the suffering endured by the elephants in their care, but are powerless to do anything about it. They also live in just as squalid conditions as their charges do, and are also silent when it comes to reporting abuse.

So please consider supporting our cause – in order to help elephants as well as mahouts, as they both need your financial help. And in regards to the common problems with all animals held in captivity around the globe, EWN remains united with the animals and with their trainers (like John Hargrove). Well done John!

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“Tourists are the key” says Carol Buckley of Elephant Aid International

Carol Buckley, founder of Elephant Aid International, says that “As long as tourists will pay money to ride elephants, savvy businessmen will exploit elephants for the fortune to be made” and she also reports that two elephants died last month in Nepal after long days of labor. Considering there are just over a hundred or so captive elephants currently working in Nepal’s Safari Ride industry, this is of grave concern. Carol also reports from Chitwan that as many as a third of the elephants are infected with tuberculosis, which they contract from humans and then pass to one another. So please support EWN and Carol in our efforts to help these sick and overworked elephants.

Stay off Elephants’ Backs to Stop Killing Them

Stay off Elephants’ Backs to Stop Killing Them

For more info on the current situation, see this recent article on takepart.

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EWN Volunteers kick off the Nepal College Tour @ National College, Kathmandu

On March 11 2015, three volunteers from EWN spent 1 hour with 25 students and faculty at National College, KTM. This engaged group looked at problems with captive elephants in Nepal, and at problems specifically concerning elephants & mahouts in the Chitwan National Park area.

Here is the presentation as given:

Two EWN volunteers working on the presentation just before kick-off time.

Two EWN volunteers working on the presentation just before kick-off time.

The group discussion reveled that almost all students have been to Chitwan National Park, and that most have ridden an elephant on a safari ride. Students came up with some interesting alternatives to the business of elephant safari rides, to include: walkways and viewing towers, tree houses for rent and viewing, and jeep safaris – with one student even suggesting that the jeeps be made to LOOK LIKE elephants 🙂 What a great idea.

This 60-minute session seemed to have an impact on all that attended, as half the room signed up to become EWN volunteers and spend time helping us in future campaigns – welcome aboard students!

In addition, the general consensus at the closing of the session was that safari elephant riding was not an activity anyone would be doing in the future.

National College students engaged during the session.

National College students engaged during the session.

Great job students, and thank you for your support.

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Great news, and a testament to Animal Welfare Activism worldwide…

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 7.28.59 AMPOLK CITY, Fla. — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus says the “Greatest Show on Earth” will go on without elephants.

Animal rights groups took credit for generating the public concern that forced the company to announce its pachyderm retirement plan on Thursday. But Ringling Bros.’ owners described it as the bittersweet result of years of internal family discussions.

For more, see here:

PETA responds here:

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Nepal Footprint Holiday stops elephant ride bookings!

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.19.47 PM

A socially-responsible tour operator

A well-known booking agent in the heart of tourist-town Kathmandu (Thamel) just announced they will no longer be booking tours that employ the use of elephants during Safari rides. EWN congratulates  this company for their bravery in the marketplace, and for doing the right thing – even if tourist revenue may be lost. This firm lives up to their claim in being a socially responsible tour company. Please see this news release, and also consider booking your next tour with these fine folks:

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An elephant in chains and pain is terrible sight to behold

This from a recent visitor to Chitwan…

Thea & Tails

Last weekend I visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal for the second time. When I was there a few years ago I had a brilliant time and one of the highlights was going on safari riding on an elephant. I had been looking forward to doing the same again, but once there I quickly changed my mind.

I’m kind of ashamed to admit that when I was there before I didn’t really think about the impact on the elephant.  I didn’t think about it this time either, that is until I had several elephants standing in front of me who were obviously in distress and had their front legs tightly hobbled together.


These were two massive male elephants and our guide explained that they were in musth and therefore for dangerous.  I could hardly look at them and didn’t want to take photos as it was so distressing to see these…

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Ever wanted to ride an elephant? You have to watch this!

From our friends at World Animal Protection

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Still want to ride an elephant? Here is another reason not to…

This from our friends at PETA India…

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Four German travel providers stop elephant rides in Nepal

Cartoon elephantFour German travel providers have decided to remove elephant rides and other tourist attractions offering direct contact with captive elephants from their programmes.

Following discussions with Pro Wildlife, AIDA Cruises, TUI Germany, Hauser Exkursionen and Geograf Exkursionen announced they will introduce elephant-friendly tourism, and no longer offer elephant-back safaris and other cruel attractions involving elephants.

Continue reading

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‘An Elephant Is Not A Machine’ shows Nepal’s safari elephants got a bad deal

An Elephant Is Not A Machine-coverEWN offers kudos to Animal Nepal for publishing An Elephant Is Not A Machine, a report on the welfare conditions of safari elephants in Sauraha, Chitwan. The survey of 42 privately owned ‘safari elephant’ in Sauraha learns that their welfare is ‘greatly compromised’.

According to the report, only 18% of elephants live under ‘Improving Conditions’ while 82% of elephants have to cope with ‘Unsuitable Conditions’. Not a single elephant qualifies for ‘Excellent Conditions’. Welfare conditions fall short in many areas including freedom of movement, shelter conditions, nutrition, health and healthcare, safari management, as well as mahout welfare. Continue reading

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