As this time of year rolls around we are reminded of all of the things we are thankful for. We are all thankful for many of the same things and maybe not so much when it comes to others. One thing we all can be appreciative and grateful for though are all the places that provide a safe and loving environment for abused, abandoned and/or hunted animals. Elephants are just one of many species that need our help. Currently their habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate by humans. Different species of these majestic creatures are also being brutally hunted for their tusks. Even though ivory poaching is illegal it is still very active on the black market. As a result of this surge in poaching, 100,000 elephants have been killed in just three years. As you write your holiday wish list and begin buying other's their wants consider giving an out of the ordinary present. Volunteering or donating to one of the elephant sanctuaries is just one step closer to ensuring these elephants don't become extinct. Many of the safe havens allow for volunteers to spend a day or weeks with the elephants- being able to participate in activities like feeding, bathing, going on walks with them and more. Being able to help those who do not have a voice is the best gift you can give yourself or another this season.
THE INTERNATIONAL ELEPHANT FOUNDATION:
The International Elephant Foundation creates a sustainable future for elephants. "We generate and effectively invest resources to support elephant conservation, education, research, and management programs worldwide. Through our passion, expertise, knowledge, and partnerships we inspire and engage people to ensure a vibrant future with elephants everywhere."
The African Wildlife Foundation is the leading international conservation organization focused solely on Africa. "For over 50 years, we have worked to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever."
The MEF charity was founded in August 1999 with the assistance of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and has been working continually to improve the care, protection and treatment of elephants in Sri Lanka by providing a place of warmth, love, freedom, medical services and facilities. The Millennium Elephant Foundation is the only certified Non-profit Organisation working with captive elephants in Sri Lanka.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.
Save the elephants brings together local nomads and scientists from around the world for the love and desire of one beautiful purpose- to simply save the elephants. Their mission is "to secure a future for elephants and to sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live; to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species."
The Elephant Nature Park is a unique project set in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand. Established in the 1990’s their aim has always been to provide a sanctuary and rescue center for elephants. The park is located some 60km from the city, and has provided a sanctuary for dozens of distressed elephants from all over Thailand. "Set in a natural valley, bordered by a river, and surrounded by forested mountains the area offers a timeless glimpse of rural life. Sanctuary for endangered species: We provide homes for these animals as well as contributing to their welfare and development."
Established in 2003, the Mali Elephant Project (MEP) is a long-term initiative aiming to protect a unique population of 550 sub-desert elephants.
THE SURIN PROJECT:
The Surin project is a new and innovative project focussed on finding solutions to the challenges faced by mahouts and their elephants in Surin province in North-Eastern Thailand. It is committed to improving the living conditions of Asian elephants and providing sustainable economic revenue for their mahouts in the local community.
THE ELEPHANT LIVELIHOOD INITIATIVE ENVIRONMENT:
The Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment (E.L.I.E) is a non government organisation (NGO). We manage and run several different wild and captive elephant based programs of which the Elephant Valley Project is a key part. E.L.I.E.’s primary goal is to improve the health and welfare of captive elephants and assist in their wild counterparts protected in the Province of Mondulkiri.