Breaking the chains, one elephant at a time



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.

 
 
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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.

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NEWS.COM.AU  July 14, 2014
 
Lambodhar Prasad, the elephant desperate for kindness after spending 60 years in chains
Lambodhar Prasad has no escape and is forced to wear these chains all the time. Picture:

Lambodhar Prasad has no escape and is forced to wear these chains all the time. Picture: Carol Buckley/Elephant Aid International Source: Supplied

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

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

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.”

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