Chain Free Means Pain Free
Location: Thailand and Nepal
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CHAIN FREE MEANS PAIN FREE
For Asia's elephants, life in captivity is filled with pain, isolation, and despair.
Day after day, often with no shelter to escape the sun’s burning rays, they stand for long hours, legs shackled together in heavy chains that prevent them from moving more than a few inches in any direction.
Standing in their own waste, their feet become diseased and painful from infected and necrotic tissue. They suffer from crippling arthritis and exhibit abnormal rocking, bobbing, and swaying behaviors. Many die sick and broken.
But life does not have to be this way for Asia’s working elephants.
Change is possible!
In an unprecedented gesture of faith in a US-based nonprofit organization,
private NGO’s in Thailand and the Nepalese government invited Elephant Aid International (EAI) to create their countries' first-ever solar powered chain-free corrals.
As of August of 2015 chain-free corrals were built at Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital, home to Mosha, and Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, both in Thailand, and at Chitwan National Park, Nepal, where 63 working elephants now live.
Modeled after our successful pilot projects completed in 2013 in Nepal, this groundbreaking projectis deceptively simple, yet amazingly effective. Here’s what it involves:
THAILAND - Project Completed August 2015
Step 1: Enclosed acres of lush forest habitat including washes and dense trees with chain-free corrals using state-of-the-art, solar-powered electric fencing (harmless to elephants).
Step 2: Released resident elephants from their chains and gave them access to natural vegetation for shade, hygienic natural substrate for foot and joint health and fresh water for drinking, bathing and playing.
NEPAL- Project Completed April 2015
15 hattisars have been converted to chain-free!
Step 1: Equipped 15 spacious outdoor stables with chain-free corrals using state-of-the-art, solar-powered electric fencing (harmless to elephants).
Step 2: Release 48 elephants from their chains into 1-acre plus corrals consisting of natural vegetation for shade, hygienic natural substrate for foot and joint health and fresh water for drinking, bathing and playing.
Step 3: Witnessed the amazing transformation of formerly-chained elephants—their overwhelming joy of moving at will and engaging in natural behavior, such as dusting, foraging, sleeping, bathing, exploring and socializing with their loved ones!
CHAIN FREE CORRALS IN THE NEWS!
International news media cover the success of EAI's campaign to free captive held elephants from chains.
31 March 2015
Chitwan, Nepal (dpa) - The 45-year-old elephant Man Kali saunters around in her half-hactare of freedom with her 2-year-old offspring Hem Gaj. cont.
EKANTIPUR.COM January 9, 2015
Chitwan National Park to keep more elephants off chains
KATHMANDU, JAN 09 - The Chitwan National Park (CNP), which is working to keep its elephants off shackles, is preparing to create additional enclosures expanding up to one acre of land for the unchained pachyderms.
As part of the second phase of the project that was launched in January last year, the CNP in coordination with Elephant Aid International (EAI), a US-based non-profit organisation, is preparing to keep 34 elephants off their shackles this year. Cont.
NEWS.COM.AU July 14, 2014
Lambodhar Prasad, the elephant desperate for kindness after spending 60 years in chains
HE HAS spent his entire life in chains and works seven days a week.
He is also not allowed to breed, socialise or form any sort of bond with another living being.
Lambodhar Prasad has never known what freedom is and lives a lonely, solitary life.
The 60-year-old pachyderm is one of 63 elephants who work in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park on anti-poaching patrols, helping protect endangered rhinos, tigers and other elephants.
But while he serves a crucial and vital service, Lambodhar Prasad also has never known kindness, according to Elephant Aid International founder Carol Buckley.
His story is far from unique and echoes that of Indian elephant Raju who made headlines around the world when he cried after being released from a life of chains.
The 50-year-old had painful absences on his legs from his heavy chains and was forced to beg tourists for food and money.
And while Raju had a happy ending, elephants like Lambodhar Prasad face a longer path to freedom.
The elephant has sores on his head from constant beating. Picture: Carol Buckley/Elephant Aid International Source:Supplied
“He suffers from learned helplessness, a condition resulting from systematic torture,” Ms Buckley told news.com.au from Nepal.
“He does as he is told because of his brutal training which has left him believing it is impossible to do anything else.”
But according to Ms Buckley, there is light at the end of the tunnel as the Nepalese Government is moving towards chain free conditions for its elephants.
Mahouts and trainers will also be educated on their treatment and welfare conditions but she warns it will all take time.
“The learning curve for mahouts is huge but we have faith,” she said.
“Attitudes are already beginning to change. We saw it after the first elephants were unchained.”
She added conditions were even more brutal for privately owned elephants.
Lambodhar Prasad is 60 years old and has spent his entire life in chains. Picture: Carol Buckley/Elephant Aid InternationalSource: Supplied
“Elephants well into their 60s and are smuggled illegally from India,” Ms Buckley said.
“They work all day in the sun carrying tourist in Chitwan community forests. They work seven days a week, in the sweltering heat. Food, shelter and care are dismal. The mahouts suffer equally at the hands of the private owners.
“No matter the mental health or physical condition the elephant works day after day wearing an ill-fitting, wound creating saddle strapped to their back so tourists can take a ride.”
She said she hoped stories such as Raju and that of another elephant Kusha Prasad, who was rescued through Elephant Aid International’s Chain Free Means Pain Free Project, would become the norm.
“Kusha Prasad spent his young life in chains,” she said.
“No playing. No socialising with other elephants. No physical freedom. Always hungry,” she said.
“Kusha Prasad is now chain free and sharing his freedom corral with his aunt who pampers him like a mother.
“By the time the project is completed in March of 2015, a total of 63 captive-held, shackled elephants will be released from decades in chains.”
APRIL 27, 2014
The world is waking up to a new tradition of compassionate elephant care!
EAI founder and CEO Carol Buckley shares details and answers questions from reporters about EAI's "Chain Free Means Pain Free" initiative at a press conference hosted by Chitwan National Park on April 27, 2014. Click on the image below to watch as elephants are released from their chains.
CAROL'S CORRAL CONSTRUCTION CHRONICLES - 2014
Click here to read Carol's Corral Construction Chronicles--a true story of big-hearted adventure in Nepal.
As each Phase One chain-free hattisar was completed and each elephant was unshackled, Carol shared photos and stories from the field.
CATCH UP WITH NEWS FROM NEPAL - JUNE 4, 2014
Watch and listen to EAI Founder/CEO Carol Buckley as she speaks to a live global audience on Kantipur TV about Elephant Aid Internationall's work to bring Compassionate Elephant Care to Nepal.
(Click on the image to view the video.)