People often email me to ask what they can do from our part of the world to help the elephant situation. I mean, there aren’t a lot of elephants in Australia and there are a lot of good causes seeking your help, so what can you really do? The answer is, a lot!
When we started Animal Works last year, the focus was on awareness raising because the more people know about the threats to elephants and other wildlife the better chance they have of survival. But as we went on, we realised we had to do more. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people and elephants are killed annually because of human-elephant conflict, largely due to loss of elephant habitat. And the problem is getting worse. The Asian elephant is endangered and declining. I’ve seen the war myself and it’s devastating to see the impact on the lives of people living on the poverty line and elephants battling to survive.
So through Animal Works, working with our partners in India (WWF and WTI), we set up a way that you can get involved in a very real way without leaving your computer. For just ten bucks, you can buy a baby orphaned elephant milk for a day. That’s what it costs at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabiliation and Conservation in Assam for each one of their elephants on their long path to recovery. That’s less than the cost of a bottle of wine. For $20 you can buy a family enough fire crackers to keep elephants at bay for a week. This is a big help, because without that sound elephants would be raiding crops every night in the high conflict season (October to January in India). $50 will buy enough chilli seedlings to set up a family with a small chilli farm – they can sell the chillies as well as using them to deter elephants. And $100 will get a family enough materials to make a watch tower of bamboo, essential early warning systems that help reduce the problem. If you can see the elephants coming in, you can keep them out before they destroy your crop.
Animal Works has also established its own elephant adoption program. You can sponsor any one of the orphans at the centre for anything from a year to 3 years. Every little bit helps, so tell your friends and spread the word about the conservation problems facing elephants and what everyone can do to help. Click here to make a difference that really counts on the ground.
Thanks in advance for your support.