As you all know we are extremely supportive of all to be able to have their voice and choice, and actively encourage the weaker to feel stronger so that they do not feel pressurised by those who come across as being threatening or who threaten via words or actions.
From previous posts you will all have guessed by now, that we are particularly fond, extremely concerned and supportive of the 'Elephant World' and its' future existence as well as the Animal world who share this planet Earth with us.
Firstly, we would like to thank Elephant Nature Park, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust,Wildlife S.O.S Teresa, Patty, Becca, Lek and all the special Elephant Carers, for passing on their concerns regarding the future of the Elephant world. On top of our own concerns all your input towards this presentation completely helped to bring the Elephants real world to the fore. On behalf of many presently living Elephants and the millions of elephants who have brutally had to pass on against their own choice thank you.
Having had the absolute privilege to be invited to speak to about 200+ S 1 students and Teachers at a High School regarding the near extinction of elephants - sparked by our knowledge of the fact that 100's of years ago there were about 10 million elephants who walked the Earth yet in the 1900's only a few million and, sadly, today approximately only 450,000 worldwide - - which means, approximately, 35,000 die each year, 96 die per day and on average 1 every 15 minutes is brutally killed or dies from being poisoned or by the cruel methods in which many future isolated and captured elephants are trained through the 'crushing' method and other totally unnecessary and cruel ways or who die from sheer exhaustion from logging or from their spirits being totally broken in to smithereens, like a piece of glass is shattered in to a thousands pieces!
With not being so hot on maths! we asked the students if they could work out how many elephants are killed during the time they leave for school and return from school and they were totally shocked at their answers being in the region of 32. We then asked them how many were killed during the time they were asleep from their beautiful peaceful slumber, once again they were shocked at their answer being on average 40!
Prior to this presentation a couple of the students had been asked to create something that might resemble a bull hook (bearing in mind that many of these Temples and Outback's do not have access to shops to buy bull hooks) they came up with something very simple - two bits of wood with nails sticking out at the top, and sides! and suggested that taking a rope might be a good idea as, thankfully, we had no access to spiked chains to show them!
|Two students vision of some older fashioned bull hooks|
Although this school, like most, and us all in fact, have covered deforestation, the pollution humans create in the air, the land the sea and by human brute force, never did they or their Teachers realise the figures of animals who are suffering (including humans) were so high. Nor did they realise that on average 28,000 species are going to become extinct within the next quarter of a century or that roughly 4,500 acres of forest are being cleared by forest fires or that 20% of the worlds oxygen is created in the Amazon, or that 37% of Methane Emissions are as a result of factory farming. Or indeed that The fossil fuels used in energy, transportation, and synthetic pesticides/fertilizers emits approximately 90 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. Or that one million sea birds are killed each year by the ingestion of plastics. When you say it all in one breath, it is indeed extremely alarming.
But you, know the most serious thing out of all of this is, at the end, when asked who is the cruellest creature on this planet their answers were not any of the living creatures that we call animals but it was humans ourselves. yes, it is humans who are polluting the air, land and sea and who are exposing pollution via inhalation, ingestion and absorption! As for the animals, actually they, for many a year have done the planet many a favour by planting seeds naturally, encouraging the 'circle of life' in nature's very own way without the 'human created chemicals or wish to speed up the process of what ever - all for financial gain!
So back on to elephants, the Students were asked if they had ever been to a zoo, some hands went up, but naturally many had never heard of the antics that become so repetitive when an animal is kept in solitude, so we did not dwell on this point too much. Then there were the 'lucky' ones who had been on a Safari, they had seen them free or at least in a grassy large compound. Others were asked if they had ridden an elephant, again, some said yes and told the rest of the class where this happened. The question was also asked - 'had any of them ever ridden a horse' - quite number had said yes, but after explaining that actually the anatomy of an elephant in comparison with a horse was completely different and that they did not have the same ligament structure to cope with heavy weights from above or indeed have the same back bone structure to cope with the various ways that humans instruct them to sit on a ball or balance on their noses or bottoms! or to walk on their hind legs! Once again after basically explaining this the Students were quite upset that had they known all this they would not have ridden an elephant or had cheered at the circus when the elephants were doing their human controlled 'acts'!
With regards logging, there were only a few words for this ' why push an elephant to its' death when we don't push ourselves to death or indeed inflict the same 'cruel' techniques to train a human to study Geography or Maths as an example.
The question was asked, is there any way that an animal such as an elephant can be trained in a more considerate manner, with more respect and understanding. The answer was, we believe so. 50/50 communication and understanding is the only way forward with any animal, human included. We asked the students if they would like to be tied by spiked chains for 50 years with little or no freedom, or to be crushed with all two legs and arms tied and to get prodded with a bull hook or five! Electric shocked, beaten just for the sake of it, or just because they showed no signs of being interested in Geography for example! or whether they would like to be chained and beaten for the ten years while at school and only fed the food that their teacher felt they should have. Their heads lowered filled with the sheer thought of this!
The question was also asked ' Do Elephants feel the same emotions as humans?' the answer was indeed they do, they feel the same grief and often for longer, often returning to where there loved ones lost their lives for many a year after, they have the same cognitive behaviour as humans, they feel fear, joy and empathy and are highly acknowledged and praised for their intelligence. One of our comments was ' it is actually humans who should be learning about Social behaviour and life in general from the Elephants of this planet and not be steered purely by greed, or financial greed. It is totally possible for all living creatures to share this Earth, just as they used to many years ago, as long as there is respect and understanding for each other.
One of the Students said, 'but some Elephants are now being born without tusks - as if there is an inner instinct not to grow them!'
Another said 'I will never ride an elephant again'
Another ' Had I known Elephants went through such training as I have seen today I would never ever have ridden one'
During this presentation not only did we briefly touch on Logging elephants, supposedly ride-able elephants or circus elephants but we also touched on Elephants at Zoos, particularly the ones who were kept in solitude or the ones who have no access to a proper green belt where they can freely forage but we gave some examples of Carla and Pearl, but in particular Carla who was at the back of a zoo as thin as a slither of greenhouse glass, and the damage that can become of all the rubbish that humans eat at zoos and just leave lying around resulting in the elephants picking up the coke cans, the popcorn packets, the sweet papers etc , resulting in blockages within the gut. Just as many sea life creatures suffer from the amount of toxic plastic eaten, trapped and digested under water.
How many zoos have you been to that have had a doze of rubbish in the corners of the pens or enclosures depending on which way the wind is blowing!
How many of the birds in school play grounds suffer from the amount of rubbish that is not put in the bin or chewing gum that is left loitering at the edges for the Gulls and other birds to pick up on and who subsequently suffer just as we are quietly and silently suffering from the toxins in the air, land and sea and who by - Human kind, certainly not the animals!
We also covered the fantastic work of many Elephant groups as well as Elephant Nature Park Wildlife S.O.S The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and The Carol Buckley Chain Free Corals as examples of people and their teams who are definitely making a difference to the Elephant Health and their long term Well-Being and existence.
We brought up the unique ability that Lek Chailert has by being able to speak to the Forest tribes on an equal footing, in each individuals language and not in a 'dictatorial fashion', a way that the Mahout realises that for some of their elephants it is kinder to release them to Elephant Nature Park or somewhere similar, depending on where they are in the world of course.
The Students were shown some footages of Navaan on his third birthday, within which there were clips of him playing with a massive long piece of tape, he then managed to get it stuck round a tree, which immediately showed to us that Elephants could
To finish on a cheery note they were also told about the amazing story of other Elephants as well as Queen #Kabu Kabu the Elephant with the broken leg who had been used for Logging for 20 years but who is now free to roam! which certainly cheered them up after seeing and hearing some rather more horrific pictures.
So to cap it all in a nutshell there were enough minutes at the end of each 45 minute Session, which were divided up in to about 5 Groups of in between 25 and 50 Students, to ask them and the Teachers what they thought of the days Presentation
3 Extremely sad
4 They had no idea that these Majestic Creatures of this Planet (which is not ours) were treated in such ways prior to any form of Training for Circus Acts, Riding Tours, Logging experiences or some of those in Temple Situations
5 They would not ride an Elephant again
6 They would start to put all their rubbish in a bin
7 Humans are the cruellest animals on this planet
8 The Majority of Humans are self controlled by financial gain
7 But the most important one mentioned was by a young Male student who said ' 50/50 Communication is the one that struck a chord in me, remembering that every one and creature is different and has their own language.
Our second last comment was ' You know, the saying out of sight out of mind is so true isn't it, perhaps we should change it round and say ' always in mind but out of sight!'
Our very last suggestion was that if any of them would like to either draw a picture, write a story, or for those who found writing and drawing difficult if they were to record their thoughts or perhaps even create a short film we would assess them all, and the best one would win the sponsor of an Elephant for a year from which ever Elephant Sanctuary they chose and that the closing date for Entries would be the 10th December 2016.
We have since heard that the main Teacher of this Group has suggested that they have a Fundraiser with a view to Sponsoring their very own Elephant - how wonderful is this. So so proud of them all.
Knowing we only had 45 minutes per Group we tried to cover all aspects of pollution, exploitation, the Ivory trade the brutal behaviour that human beings seems to think is acceptable and much more, but in a way that was fun and as interactive as possible, without them being tied down by chains, spurs and being struck by bull hooks. The result has been amazing and apparently these Students are still talking about the Session shared. So we can just about take for granted 200+ students and the Teachers involved will, from here on in, take a second thought next time they see an Elephant doing something that they were not born to do as well as try their best to make this planet healthier for all.
We must add that all the Students behaved impeccably and showed that they care about the future of this Planet that is not ours to control in the first place.
Thank you all so much for reading this post and if there is anything you can do to encourage your local Schools and Colleges to become more aware please, please try and organise it or if you need a hand or would like us to guide or help you, please just ask.
This particular Session was triggered because the Geography Class had covered Deforestation . . an ideal topic to introduce the animals who are becoming extinct. It only took a full morning to open the eyes and minds of 200 + individuals including Teachers, that's 200+ more than the night before the Session took place.
On behalf of all who have suffered in the past, still suffer but also on behalf of those who are now free and safe thank you so much.
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