The United States has finally banned the sale of ivory

Big News! The United States has, at long last, finalized a ban on the sale of ivory!!!

Did you know that the U.S. ranks as the second largest market for illegal ivory after China? We are so deeply happy that the US is finally willing to stand up for what’s right for the African elephant, and that maybe, just maybe, your kids won’t have to google “What is an Elephant”.

“Our actions close a major avenue to wildlife traffickers,” said FWS Director Dan Ashe in a statement. “We still have much to do to save this species, but today is a good day for the African elephant.”

Read more about it in this article in The Washington Post. 



We owe animals more than a life in captivity

Although this article is obviously about polar bears, each time we exchanged the words “polar bear” for “elephant” the article continued to ring true.Polar bears in zoo

Whether you agree or disagree with zoos, we can think on this: “The only way to really protect these animals is by saving their habitat – and this is something we can all do every single day by simply choosing to‪#‎EatForThePlanet‬.”

“If anything, this image is a harsh reminder that we owe these incredible animals so much more than a life in captivity. We owe them their wild home and a life free from the threat of starvation, boredom, or any other harm inflicted by humans”.


“All powerful deity is the real-owner of the devalaya tusker”

It takes immense courage to stand up to those who wish to silence all that you do.

And yet in Sri Lanka, the Department of Wildlife Conservation is doing just that–rising up again and again in the face of incredible odds to confiscate the innocent baby elephants illegally captured and cruelly confined by the Wealthy Elite and politically-protected Monks.

Times are changing and no longer will such cruelties be allowed unabated, no longer will they remain hidden or glossed over.

Many are to be thanked and honored for the changes that are slowly being instated, but today we offer every bit of our abundant and Heartfelt thanks to the DWC as they ceaselessly work to right these wrongs, creating a world where Compassion Trumps Captivity.

Read more about the ongoing work of the Wildlife officials here.

So many good people around the world are rising up in the way it works best for their voices to be heard: From legal proceedings to international petitions, from quite literally going door-to-door and talking to whomever might be able to help to creating a traveling exhibit of awareness and education. There are documentaries being made, presentations being given, volunteers working ceaselessly, and countless social media groups forming collectives in powerful numbers. Every bit of it matters, for slowly but surely it is tipping the scale to the good.

temple, deity

Art speaks in ways all of our words never will. For a week, we have been looking at this beautiful piece that tells the truth of a cruel story in a beautiful way. Thank you, Prasad Aluthwattha…

If you love elephants, help keep them in their wild homes

The tourism industry is a big part of the problem for elephants and yet the industry can also be a big part of the solution.

The Vietnamese news site, Tuoitre News, published an article this week detailing plans by authorities in Vitenam’s Central Highlands region to import elephants from Thailand or Sri Lanka to boost their declining elephant population in the area. The government hopes to import one or two pairs of elephants from Sri Lanka or Thailand to be bred in Buon Don in the hope of repopulating the herd for tourism and conversation of the local cultural identity. The region’s administration has however previously come under fire for the over-exploitation of elephants, which has led to the death of some of the elephants due to exhaustion while serving tourists.

Read the full article here…     

If you love elephants, help keep them in their wild homes, even if it means you won’t get that selfie…

elephants viet

(Photo credit: Tuoi Tre)


Kat Blais shares her commentary on the Swaziland to USA elephant debacle

Kat Blais, co-founder of Global Sanctuary for Elephants has shared the following excellent commentary on the Swaziland to USA elephant debacle–worth reading every word.

Swaziland, a giant step backward for elephants and for our society

How we treat those around us is a substantial part of defining our moral fiber as individuals and as a society. Today, we are living in a world of increased awareness of the depth of animal complexity: intellectually, socially, emotionally and their role in the balance of the natural world. We now know, without any doubt or hesitation that animals are so much more than we gave them credit for just two decades ago. Less and less we are seeing them as things, objects and commodities. But this week punctuated that zoos are not in this same boat as the rest of our evolving society; they continue to be willing to sacrifice family bonds and social structure as they compromise the health and well-being of individuals. With all that we know, based on years of science, three zoos have all but destroyed the lives of the 18 elephants (15 of them under the age of 12) that were captured in order to replenish their diminishing ‘stock.’ This includes the one elephant who has already lost her life due to poor management and the lives of the families they left behind.

Zoos have done an incredible job at self-promoting themselves as top animal experts, scientist and conservationist, but the data and the truth show otherwise. When you look at the decades of information collected and knowledge gained by field biologist, it’s quite clear that everything we do to elephants in captivity is detrimental to their health. It is what has caused the need to bring in wild elephants to replenish a dying population. Zoos are consciously masking the truth and scientific data, as they implore deceptive, diversionary tactics, and a fair number of straight out lies. They throw out huge numbers; “our $15 million state of the art exhibit,” it’s an impressive number but does little to bring peace or happiness and certainly not good health to the elephants who have been enslaved. They claim that this direct action is all about conservation, but once again the data does not support this. And if they spent even half of the expansion funds on true conservation projects, their net positive impact would be substantial compared their current menial financial investment to conservation.

This deal, this entire operation was designed for one purpose- to restock zoos with elephants so they can continue to make money as an attraction to the public. Zoos will claim that these elephants are pivotal to educating our children, “These elephants will build an appreciation for elephants that encourage their protection for decades to come.” But zoos have been in existence for centuries and elephants are still being slaughtered and enslaved into captivity at an alarming rate. As I recently read in an article that so poignantly puts this in perspective, kids love and know everything there is to know about dinosaurs and they have never seen one and never will.

If you ask the kids or even adults about elephants they know little about who they really are. At the last zoo I worked at, the primary two questions we were asked were “Can we ride her and does she do tricks?” When this same elephant, at the zoo was allowed out of the exhibit to graze on the grass in a picnic area the number one comment was, “I didn’t know elephants ate grass.” This is the education the public is receiving.

I have spent the majority of my life, more than 23 years, helping captive elephants recover from the traumas of captivity. Even those from “good” zoos are a fraction of their true selves when they arrive to sanctuaries. With every individual that I’ve had the great honor and blessing to work with, we’ve observed the truth depth of the negative impact of captivity and it’s far more extensive than most people comprehend, even those of us that have seen the worst of the treatment they endure. And through sanctuary we have also seen the profound recovery and rediscovery of what it means to be an elephant and who they are as a pivotal individual. When I hear the level of deception from zoos that has allowed these Swaziland elephants, precious and sacred individuals to be sacrificed, all I can do is feel remorse for the willful ignorance of our society.

We have to make a change. We need a global shift in consciousness. We need to open our eyes to the truth and be aware enough to see through the deception. It is clearly not enough for the scientists of our world to stand up against the self-serving decisions of the zoos; each of us must stand up and say enough. These lives matter and to each of these 17 that arrived into the US less than 36 hours ago, and the thousands of elephants that live in captivity, please know that we will continue, every day, to help shift away from the ignorance and greed that has fragmented your lives. When our world awakens to the truth we will be there to welcome you to sanctuary. We can’t reverse the decisions of the past but we can provide you with the space, respect and honor that will allow you to feel once again, what it is to be an elephant.12814474_881846995259602_7805467616968576886_nPhoto credit: Fabrizio Chiruzzi