An update on Ganga: telling the truth until the truth changes

We would like to extend a big thank you to One Green Planet, for being willing to publish our recent article.

As we tell the story of Ganga, as well as all the other captive elephants in Sri Lanka who live their lives swaying on chains, we shine a light on the cruel practice which continues in the name of cultural pride and religious devotion in this country.

The story of Ganga and other captive elephants has recently taken an unexpected and unthinkable turn. Following months of legal proceedings, over a dozen custody cases had been won, allowing for some of these young elephants to begin their recovery at the Elephant Transit Home (ETH), and prepare for their eventual return to the wild.

And then, the unthinkable happened: claiming there were not enough temple elephants for proper peraheras, robes of white and orange interfered with previous court rulings and initiated opposing legal action. The idea that it is essential to use captive (not domesticated, not tame, but captive, and certainly broken) elephants as a display of cultural pride and religious devoutness is an outdated idea that will not go unchallenged until it is changed.

The crimes being committed are multiplying: stealing innocent calves from the wild, continuing to exploit them at Pinnewela, and worst of all, the recent demands to remove traumatized juveniles from their safekeeping at ETH.

You can read the article in full on One Green Planet’s website here.

Please share it with friends and family and together, we will take steps towards putting an end to this cruel practice.

Chained by two legs on crumbling bricks off the side of a busy city street, Ganga was on display inside temple gates for years as traffic relentlessly moved behind her and people streamed just as endlessly in front of her.
Chained by two legs on crumbling bricks off the side of a busy city street, Ganga was on display inside temple gates for years as traffic relentlessly moved behind her and people streamed just as endlessly in front of her.

Remembering why we do what we do

We look at this snap to remind us daily of the beauty of what we are all working to save.

It’s easy to get lost in the madness and the sadness of any advocacy. But burning out because you get lost in the fear and the fight, or feeling overwhelmed and forgetting to orient yourself first to what is good and right, is easy to succumb to.

Staying centered in the midst of it all and then allowing yourself to be happy along the way? Now that is a worthy practice for committing, for the long haul, to whatever you seek to change, come what may.

Elephant family at meal time

The Fight for What is Right continues

Bhanu and Ganga remain stuck in the middle–not where they were, but not yet where they deserve to be. It’s extraordinary that we must fight for the simple rights of any sentient being to simply not be chained and exploited for religious ceremony or entertainment.

But, steadfast, the fight continues. Today’s announcement from the wise legal counsel and extended wonder team at CES:

“COURT UPDATE & VICTORY: 15th July! Baby Ganga and Bhanu!!
Hulftsdorp MC 1: CES legal representatives inform courts that baby eles Ganga and Bhanu have not been taken into custody despite the Order issued to CID and DWC previously!
Magistrate Hon Gihan Pilapitiya instructed CID to enforce the Order with immediate effect!”

Longterm advocacy demands a tenacity of spirit and longevity of inspiration while working within a cruelty that is slow to change. So be it then, Tenacious and Inspired each one of us remain.

Sri Lankan cabinet approves special herd of 35 elephants for peraheras

Crushing blow…35 elephants will be lost to the criminal network of hand-shaking/back-slapping Religion and Culture.

An appalling decision, and one we will fight…

“The herd would consist of tusker elephants, and male, and female elephants and would be obtained from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and from the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home.

Minister of Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera presented the proposal to the Cabinet following reports that there was a shortage of elephants for cultural events including the Kandy Esala Perahera.”

Read more about the latest decision by the Cabinet here. 13731057_901190053326344_8675485512439670529_o

Baby elephants remain trapped in a criminal network

Illegally-captured juvenile elephants remain caught in the crosshairs of a criminal network, cleverly disguised within the folds of Culture and Religion.

They have gotten away with it for a long time—but the stories are being exposed and change is coming as the truth comes to light. As the criminal custody cases continue to be tried one by one, we continue to support, in every way, the work of the extraordinary legal team, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Centre for Eco-cultural Studies (CES).

All of the Ups/Downs/Turnarounds have only served to unite more voices around the world in solidarity for the day when every case has been tried, every illegally captured young elephant is safe, and those that thought we would tire of the fight and give up will be the ones who walk away, startled by the ferociousness of what happens when people learn the truth.

A baby elephant in the wild in Sri Lanka
A baby elephant in the wild in Sri Lanka