Rescue Gajraj the Elephant From Torture at Indian Temple

Target: Modi Narendra, Prime Minister of India 

Goal: Rescue Gajraj the elephant, who has been tortured and held in captivity for over 50 years, from the Satara Temple.

A 63-year-old elephant named Gajraj has been living in devastating conditions for most of his life. Currently, he is being kept in chains as a tourist attraction at the Satara Temple in India. Before he was there, he was used by handlers to beg visitors for money. Since becoming ill and too sick to continue doing that, he was left at the Satara Temple.

Gajraj’s living conditions were revealed anonymously to The Sun newspaper in the U.K. in the form of video footage. Due to being chained to a hard floor, he has developed abscesses on his hind quarters and elbows. He reportedly spends time every day trying to free himself from those chains. Pictures also show that the ends of his tusks have been cut off and that he has overgrown and broken toenails on all of his feet.

He is also exhibiting classic signs of severe psychological distress, presumably as a result of both his social isolation and the terrible conditions he is living in. He is apparently not receiving the appropriate care because he can no longer make the handlers any money, but he does not deserve to die in agony because of that.

Something needs to be done to save Gajraj and to prevent this from happening to more animals in the future. Sign this petition to demand that the appropriate measures are taken as soon as possible.


Dear Prime Minister Modi Narendra,

Gajraj the elephant is dying in agony at the Satara Temple and it seems that no one at that facility cares. You have the power to do something about this and to send someone in to rescue Gajraj before it’s too late.

He has spent the majority of his life being tortured and held in captivity. At the Satara Temple, he is chained to the ground and completely alone. This is driving him into severe psychological distress that no living creature deserves to experience.

We ask that you help save Gajraj and take the measures necessary to implement legislation that prevents this from happening to more animals in the future.


[Your Name Here]


11 Elephants Rescued from a mud hole

Asian elephants got stuck in a mud-filled old bomb crater in Cambodia. A collaborative rescue effort saved them all.

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On March 24, 2017, a collaborative effort between local farmers and conservationists saved 11 Asian elephants that had gotten stuck in a mud hole in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia.

The hole – a mud-filled old bomb crater that dates to the Vietnam War – had been enlarged by farmers to store water. Its roughly 10-foot (3-meter) walls were too high for the elephants to scale and, as the mud dried, the elephants became further entrenched.

When the farmers discovered the elephants, they notified the Department of Environment, who in turn notified the World Conservation Society (WCS) to mobilize a rescue.

The elephants, before they were freed. Image via Wildlife Conservation Society.

The team helped water and feed the elephants to hold them over while a ramp was constructed for the elephants to escape.

A few hours after the work began, all were free.

The rescue averted what would have been a tragedy, said Tan Setha, WCS Technical Advisor to the protected area. Setha said in a statement:

This herd consisted of three adult females and eight juveniles of various ages, including a male that had almost reached maturity. These elephants represent an important part of the breeding population in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, and their loss would have been a major blow for conservation.

Dr Ross Sinclair, WCS Cambodia Country Director, added:

This is a great example of everyone working together in Cambodia to save wildlife. Too often the stories around conservation are about conflict and failure, but this is one about cooperation and success. That the last elephant to be rescued needed everyone to pull together on a rope to drag it to safety is symbolic of how we have to work together for conservation.

Bottom line: Eleven Asian elephants were rescued from a mudhole in Cambodia in March 2017, thanks to a collaboration between local farmers and conservatioinists.

Elephants Get a Reprieve as Price of Ivory Falls

Demand for Ivory Drops, and Elephants Benefit

The price of ivory has dropped by more than half in the past three years. This decline may be good news for elephants that have been targeted for their tusks.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Finally, there’s some good news for elephants.

The price of ivory in China, the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks, has fallen sharply, which may spell a reprieve from the intense poaching of the past decade.

According to a report released on Wednesday by Save the Elephants, a respected wildlife group in Kenya, the price of ivory is less than half of what it was just three years ago, showing that demand is plummeting.

Tougher economic times, a sustained advocacy campaign and China’s apparent commitment to shutting down its domestic ivory trade this year were the drivers of the change, elephant experts said.

“We must give credit to China for having done the right thing,” said Iain Douglas-Hamilton, president and founder of Save the Elephants. “There is still a long way to go to end the excessive killing of elephants for ivory, but there is now greater hope for the species.”

Elephants have been slaughtered by the thousands in recent years in what appeared to be an insatiable quest for ivory. Employing a wide range of tools, including helicopters, military-grade weaponry and poisoned pumpkins, poachers have brought down herd after herd. The poachers have also killed scores of wildlife rangers.

The tusks have been spirited out through a network of African gangs and corrupt government officials. A vast majority of ivory ends up in China, where a rapidly growing middle class has coveted it for bracelets, combs, statuettes and other status symbols. That demand has pushed the price of ivory so high that the tusks from a single elephant could be worth more than $100,000. That, in turn, encouraged many hunters and traders in Africa to ruthlessly pursue more elephants.

This may be a sign of how a sustained global advocacy campaign can actually work. For several years, celebrities, political leaders and passionate wildlife advocates around the world have been urging China to put a stop to its ivory trade. In China, there are officially registered shops selling ivory and a thriving black market doing the same. Last December, China responded, announcing it was shutting down all ivory commerce by the end of 2017. It seems the price of ivory has dropped in anticipation of the ban; many analysts believe it will soon drop further.

Researchers for Save the Elephants said the Chinese ivory business seemed depressed, with vendors pessimistic about their future. Many are replacing ivory jewelry and trinkets with items made from alternative materials, like clamshell. According to the report, China plans to shut ivory factories at the end of this month and close all retail outlets by the end of the year.

But there still seem to be some high rollers out there who want their ivory.

In one store in Nanjing, researchers saw “a 38-layered magic ball,” made from ivory, selling for $248,810.

Drought forces wildlife to spread across larger areas

Hindustan Times:  Man-animal conflict increases as Kerala faces severe drought
INDIA Updated: Feb 19, 2017

As Kerala slips into an unprecedented drought, wild animals have started raiding human settlements in search of water and food, endangering lives of people settled in fringe areas of the forest.

Last week three people were gored to death by elephant herds in separate incidents in the forested Idukki and Wayanad districts.

In the drought-hit Wayanad – the north Kerala district saw 72% deficit rainfall during the last two monsoons – people say besides elephants, other animals like, bison, deer and boars, made regular incursions into their villages.

Pepper plantation worker Nagappan, 34, was gored to death by a tusker three days ago in the district. About one-third of the district has forest cover.

According to forest officials, usually nearly 800 elephants are spotted along the Kabani riverbanks, a favourite summer habitat of jumbos in the Nilagiris, but this year their numbers dwindled to 120 as the river has partially dried up.

“Devoid of food and water, the elephant herds have become aggressive. Small crackers or fire torches fail to deter them these days. Bison and deer are behaving like domesticated animals,” said Velayudhan, a farm labourer of Thalappadi in Wayanad.

Another farmer in Ambalavayal said he lost crops worth Rs 2 lakh in the last three weeks as animals raided his farm.

“Two weeks ago, a tusker strayed almost seven km inside the human settlement.

We dug up 12 small ponds deep in the forest to check this menace,” said Wayanad district collector, BS Thirumeni.

Fed up with monkey menace, a 52-year-old widow had committed suicide in Thiruvananthapruam last week following which forest officials put up monkey traps in the area. Her relatives claimed she resorted to the extreme step after her frequent pleas fell on deaf ears.

Free Packy the Elephant From 54 years of Captivity in The Oregon Zoo!

190,000 GOAL
Elephants don’t belong In zoos, especially not Packy.

The heartbreaking story of Packy begins when he was born at the Oregon Zoo in 1962 to his Mother Bella. Packy has spent 54 years behind bars. 

Packy is the oldest male Asian elephant in North America, and he is in extremely poor health. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2013, and is still undergoing treatment. Packy is also plagued by cracked nails, lesions, and abscesses on his right foot. Records reveal that he receives Ibuphofen and Acetaminophen for lameness, and near daily attempts to manage the poor condition of his feet.

Packy has recurring abscesses and lesions on the left side of his head caused by lying on a concrete floor for extended periods of time. He also has a hygoma – a soft fluid-filled subcutaneous swelling over a bony prominence – on the right side of his head.
Due to his failing health, Packy is no longer visible to the public. He is said to be suffering alone in his enclosure, simply waiting to die without ever knowing freedom. His sad existence is a reminder of why it is inhumane and unethical to breed elephants in captivity, denying them of everything that is innate to who they are as wild animals.
The Oregon Zoo has taken a majestic animal and turned him into a tragedy. After 54 years of continued suffering, Packy deserves to spend his last years in a sanctuary where he would be free from bars. But the zoo honestly thinks that keeping him in captivity is what is best for Packy. No, it’s what’s best for the zoo, and the greed that blinds their common sense, compassion, and love for this beautiful elephant. Their selfishness has destroyed Packy. Mentally, emotionally and physically. All for human entertainment and financial gain.
In the end, Packy’s life will not be a contribution to conservation, but a testament to the tragedy of captive breeding, and the deadening existence of exploitative zoo captivity. 

Please sign this petition demanding that the Oregon Zoo release Packy the elephant to the Performing Animal Welfare Society’s (PAWS) sanctuary in California. There, he would have the opportunity to roam acres of natural habitat, play in a pond, forage for fresh vegetation, befriend other elephants, and enjoy a full, healthy, and enriched life.

Thank you very much.



A savage end for the elephants killed by men who were supposed to protect them: Slaughtered beasts’ remains lie scattered after rangers poisoned them in pay dispute

  • Elephants were slayed using cyanide in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
  • Poachers made off with three ivory tusks after the killings, officials said
  • Deaths bring total number of elephants poisoned in October alone to 62  

Lying slaughtered on the ground with their heads barbarically hacked off, these elephants are believed to have been killed by the very men who were meant to be protecting them.

They are among 62 elephants who have been killed in Zimbabwe in the last month alone, not by poachers, but poisoned by disgruntled rangers.

Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of ‘protest’ against management.

Horrific pictures which emerged today show their remains scattered across the dusty ground after they were mutilated for their tusks. Some are too graphic to show in full.

Elephants lie slaughtered on the ground after reportedly being poisoned and mutilated by disgruntled rangers at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe in a reported pay dispute

The most recent attack, which took place earlier this week, saw 22 elephants, including babies, poisoned using cyanide hidden in salt stones and oranges. 

Rangers working in the park are notoriously badly paid for a job where they are at constant risk, fighting off heavily armed poachers.

According to an inside source, rangers have only just received their pay due last month and management have failed to pay for fuel for the pumps for the park’s watering holes, The Telegraph reported.

‘I am afraid there are serious management problems within parks,’ an unnamed source from Zimbabwe’s National Parks and Wildlife Authority told The Telegraph.

‘Some of the rangers are very dissatisfied with their remuneration and say that they are not getting some allowances they believe they should get.

‘So many of us believe that some of the poaching at the moment is organised and executed by some rangers in parks, and we don’t know how this will be sorted out.’ 

Monday’s discovery of 22 elephant carcasses were made in the in park’s Sinamatella area alongside 35 tusks, said Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokeswoman for the parks and wildlife management authority. 

Barbaric: Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of 'protest' against management

Barbaric: Staff at Hwange National Park have reportedly not received their already low wages and it is feared that the elephant killings in the park may be a form of ‘protest’ against management

The poachers, who apparently killed the elephants with cyanide, escaped with three ivory tusks.

The grim finding – made by park rangers Monday morning – brings the number of elephants poisoned by poachers in the southern Africa country in October alone to a staggering 62.

‘We recovered 22 elephant carcasses in the Sinamatela area and so far we have also recovered 35 tusks,’ Washaya-Moyo told AFP. ‘Initial investigations indicate that there was cyanide poisoning.’

She added: ‘We continue to lobby for deterrent penalties for people found with poisonous substances such as cyanide. We can’t continue to lose wildlife at such a rate.’

Rangers are now investigating how many of the elephants – who resided at the same park as Cecil the lion, who was shot dead by dentist Walter Palmer in July –  had fully developed tusks.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Washaya-Moyo said: ‘We are now trying to check how many elephants had fully developed tusks because babies are among those killed.

‘The rate at which we are losing animals to cyanide is alarming. 

‘Many other species are also dying from the cyanide used by poachers to target elephants. 

‘We are appealing to people in communities close to national parks to cooperate with authorities.’

Germany may block import of tusks from giant elephant shot by hunter in Zimbabwe

“Import of trophy tusks from one of Africa’s largest elephants could
be illegal, warns Germany, as reward offered for hunter’s identity”
“Germany will consider blocking the import from Zimbabwe of the tusks
ofone of Africa’s biggest elephants killed by one of its nationals, it
said on Friday amid growing global outrage over the hunt.
“The country’s nature conservation agency said it had in the past
refused entry for animals killed in trophy hunts and would not
hesitate to do so in this case if the hunt had infringed German
wildlife regulations.”

Why Not Retire the Circus Elephants Now?


Retire Them Now!

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

If the welfare of elephants were truly its only concern, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus would stop using them in performances now, and put them on a train to sunny Florida, where they could enjoy a comfortable retirement. Instead, as The Associated Press reported Thursday, its 13 wrinkly troupers will be touring the country, doing lumbering tricks in costume for paying customers, until 2018. Then they will be sent to the company’s park near Polk City, Fla., and perform no more.
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Elephants are big business for Feld Entertainment, Ringling’s parent company, and they have been for a long, long time. So it’s hardly a small thing that the circus has announced it is ending its elephant acts. Though Ringling has always had other trained animals, like horses, dogs, tigers and lions — and, notoriously, in the 1980s, goats made to resemble unicorns — Asian elephants are central to its image and marketing. Many a New Yorker remembers the elephant marches through the Midtown Tunnel to Madison Square Garden.

But big-animal circus acts belong to a different age. Circuses have long since abandoned human freak shows and brutish displays of animals as beasts to gawk at. Many cities and counties have passed ordinances forbidding some elephant shows, because of the use of chains and prods called bullhooks to control the animals. Years of pressure from animal-rights advocates surely influenced Ringling’s decision. And competitors — notably Cirque du Soleil — have shown that it is possible to dazzle audiences with entirely human feats of grace and skill.

The news from Ringling summons two powerful images: Dumbo’s mother, trapped in a circus car, cradling her child to the song “Baby Mine,” in one of the most heartbreaking of all movie scenes, and, more recently, a viral video of two adult elephants rushing to the aid of a fallen baby elephant at a zoo in Zurich. The touching video showed indelibly what scientists well know — that elephants are highly intelligent, social creatures that demonstrate powerful family bonds and nurturing skills.

Questions of cruelty aside, a concern for simple dignity and compassion leads to the conclusion that these magnificent creatures deserve better than being dolled up and sent on the road to do stunts for shrieking children.

In a world full of cruelty toward species not our own, we’ll take good news where we can. There is every reason to welcome the promise of retirement for the elephants, although it would be better if they did not have to wait so long. The Times reports that the company thinks it’s impractical to move the elephants to its 200-acre park sooner. But that seems a little convenient — a chance for a few more seasons of hucksterism that would have made P. T. Barnum proud: Come see the elephants now — before they leave the ring forever!

Please come to fill the courtroom with elephant advocates

Please come to fill the courtroom with elephant advocates

Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants has filed numerous public disclosure requests to the Zoo. The Zoo has been frequently unresponsive claiming it isn’t subject to Washington State’s Public Records Act.  In order to hold the Zoo accountable and to learn more about the elephants’ plight, we filed a lawsuit on March 12th, 2014: Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo.  The request for summary judgment will be heard this Friday, July 25th at 1:30pm.

We need you there to show the judge WE ARE WATCHING
History could be made!  Please there!

What:    Request for summary judgment for Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo
When:   Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 1:30pm
Where:  King County Superior Court. 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
Honorable Judge Jean Rietschel’s courtroom.

What is the zoo hiding?
The Zoo has taken over $108 million dollars from tax payers since 2002.  The Zoo has use of city parkland and city buildings RENT FREE.  The Zoo acquired their “product”, the animals, from the city for FREE.  Yet the Zoo has refused to answer the most basic financial information and details about the welfare of Bamboo, Chai and Watoto, the three elephants confined in the Zoo.  When it did respond, some information was not accurate—such as how many times Chai was artificially inseminated or where the water sources are located in the yard.

   Photo credit: The Seattle Times

More recently, the Zoo has refused to provide records on the imminent transfer of Watoto to another Zoo.  Despite acknowledging that the Zoo is communicating with other zoos, it says it has no records.

It’s time for secrecy to end.  Taxpayers deserve to know what’s going on inside the walls of Woodland Park Zoo.  Please come and show your support against the Zoo’s arrogance.

We will all wear an orange tag that says in big letters:  TRANSPARENCY

Thanks so much,
Nancy Pennington and Alyne Fortgang

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