Should Wildlife Tourism Be Banned In India?

Tiger T42 – Fateh. A dominant tiger of Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, he rules over Qualiji area. He is named after the legendary conservationist, synonymous with Ranthambhore, Fateh Singh Rathore-A tribute to a great man.

Wildlife Tourism in India has always been a controversial matter. In 2010, a Public Interest Litigation was filed by tiger activist Ajay Dubey, claiming that the industry was becoming unsustainable and exploitative. As per the 2006 Amendment of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, “critical Tiger and wildlife habitats” must be inviolate for the vital growth of tiger populations. Any form of human activity was deemed a threat to Tiger conservation. It was on this basis that, on the 24th of July 2012, the Supreme Court ordered a temporary ban on tourism in the core zone of Tiger reserves. The ban stirred significant debate amongst conservationists.

More about the wildlife tourism ban

The underlying principle of the order was questionable. Tiger populations grew remarkably in reserves such as Kahna, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore, despite substantial amounts of wildlife tourism. Contrastingly, Tiger populations in less popular Protected Areas, such as Buxa and Palamu Tiger Reserve, have depleted immensely despite a lack of tourism. Associating wildlife tourism to the depletion of Tiger populations remains a baseless claim.

The Supreme Court hoped that the ban would instigate the establishment of buffer zones in Protect Areas for wildlife tourism, in accordance with the November 2011 NTCA guidelines. However, despite the Supreme Court mandate, numerous states were reluctant to comply with the guidelines. Tourism in buffer zones was not the most practical alternative. These regions are used extensively by bordering villages for cattle grazing and the collection of forest produce. Habitat degradation would lead to inferior wildlife sightings, hence attenuating the attractiveness of wildlife safaris. 

Wildlife Tourism In India

Fortunately the MoEFCC and NTCA redrafted guidelines, allowing for wildlife tourism in up to 20% of the critical Tiger habitat of a reserve. The revised guidelines encouraged states to form their own ecotourism policies. Following this, on the 16th of October 2012, the Supreme Court allowed for the recommencement of tourism in core areas

Are there any benefits of wildlife tourism?

There are numerous benefits to wildlife tourism, particularly for the local communities. Following proper practices, ecotourism brings substantial economic benefits. With over 1 million people visiting tiger reserves annually, a lot of revenue is generated in the form of entry fees, guide salary, lodge bookings amongst others. This provides significant employment opportunities for the local communities and has ripple effects as locals will associate a monetary value with wildlife. This would increase the general acceptance of wildlife, hence reducing human-wildlife conflict. Furthermore, this would prevent locals from turning to game hunting for sustenance. Entry fees would also provide the Forest Department with much required funding for conservation works! It is estimated that in the Fiscal Year of 2019, wildlife tourism in Madhya Pradesh attracted nearly 2 million visitors, generating 27 crore rupees. An organization, TOFTigers, estimated that nearly a quarter of the state’s Forest Department Budget consists of park entry fees in 2017. Moreover, the industry generated an additional 2,500 full time jobs out of which 82% were given to locals. With the industry growing at a healthy 15% annually, local economies stand to benefit immensely, particularly in the North East where the wild wonders are relatively unexplored.

Tourism also has a plethora of benefits in the management of the reserve. With the Forest Departments heavily under resources and understaffed, patrolling Protected Areas is a daunting task. Parks certainly benefit from watchful tourists. Detection of forest fires, illegal activities and injured animals improves with the participation of tourists. In fact, with the development of citizen science software, tourists can contribute even further towards wildlife research. It is no surprise therefore, that within 6 weeks of wildlife tourism shutting down due to the pandemic in 2020, the cases of poaching increased by 151% across India.

Unethical Practices Cloud wildlife tourism

However, in the past, there have been concerns regarding whether the economic benefits of wildlife tourism actually reach local communities.  Wildlife tourism may also lead to some atrocious practices. For example, both captive elephants, and dancing bears, undergo immense torture while being trained for tourist purposes. Similarly, Kopi Luwark, the world’s most expensive coffee, is a major attraction in Indonesia. However, most people are oblivious to the fact that it sponsors the illegal wildlife tradeSnake charming also is equally diastorous.

Unruly visitors are not avoidable

Enforcement of rules and regulation also remains a dark spot in the wildlife industry. I personally have witnessed numerous accounts of wildlife harassment. Unruly tourists littering, wearing excessively bright colours and making excessive noise has made a few safaris unpleasant. Furthermore, in the lure of tips, guides are often overly enthusiastic during a safari. A critical protocol which is frequently ignored during a direct sighting is the minimum distance requirement between two jeeps. Though legally, animals have the right of way in forest roads, this behaviour by jeeps often obstructs their paths and causes distress to the animals. I witnessed this with the dominant male Rudra in Tadoba Tiger Reserve in October 2020 and in my first visit to the park in 2017, where a jeep did some off-roading to show the guests tiger cubs feeding on a kill. Not only did the family flee, the jeeps shamelessly continued chasing them off-roading. Littering is also a prominent issue. On the same trip, I visited the Tipeshwar Tiger Reserve where visitors, despite being confronted by both forest staff and guests, continued to litter in the park. I can name plenty of such personal anecdotes from forests all over India! Seeing the popular tiger of the park overwhelms tourist and guide alike!

The impact of such behaviour has had an observed impact on wildlife. Tigers and other wildlife of popular parks are far more accustomed to jeeps than in the smaller reserves. Despite this, tigers do witness increased stress levels. This is proved by a study of 341 samples of tiger scats by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Park. The study found that tigers had higher concentrations of the stress hormone, faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM), during the tourism season than prior. 

This behaviour could be rectified by improved education. While an underlying purpose of ecotourism is education, only 30% of India’s Protected Areas have visitor orientation centres. Private lodges also are not very proactive in the field. 

Wildlife tourism has to become more sustainable

Another issue with wildlife tourism is that lodges are not truly eco-friendly. A nationwide study of 10 of India’s major wildlife tourist destinations was alarming. 85% of tourist facilities were within 5km of the park. 93% of the lodges used local wood while the dependency on local borewells varied from 40% to 100%. Swimming pools in the lodges of Central India prove costly for local communities in the dry summer months. The fragile ecosystem of Ladakh is witnessing widespread decimation in recent years due to scores of tourists flocking to the state following the release of the movie “3 Idiots”.

The same study found that in the 10 parks, 95% of the revenue went to private operators. Only 4.5% and 0.5% went to the park and locals respectively. In fact, only 0.001% of the locals within a 10km buffer of PA were employed. This accentuates the fallacies of India’s wildlife industries! 

Larger mammals steal the limelight

Although only 10% of India’s 500 Protected Areas are Tiger Reserves, they account for 32% of wildlife tourism. Spotting charismatic species such as Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and Lions still remains the sole interest for most visitors. Much of India’s natural beauties are unheard of by the general public. This is in sharp contrast with countries such as Australia, US, South Africa and Europe. Unlike India, ecotourism is not limited to safaris solely. These countries offer a wide array of sustainable activities across their natural landscapes including bird watching, camping, adventure sports, and natural history museums. Although it is essential to not damage the natural ecosystem, the ecotourism industry in India could be further developed. In fact, developing more activities in the lesser known parks could help distribute tourism more evenly across the country. There is much scope to expand. India could also adopt a private-public partnership in a few regions, much like the Private Game Reserves of South Africa!

The Greater One-Horned Rhino

All in all, the wildlife tourism industry is still fairly young and has much growth left. It has various benefits to wildlife but there are many issues for India to iron out such that the industry can bolster conservation efforts.

This article was first published on Think Wildlife Foundation. 

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No Wonder He’s All Smiles! Raju The Crying Elephant, Who Moved The World After Being Pictured In Tears When He Was Freed From His Chains, Is Welcomed To His New Home – By Five Females

It was the moment Raju the Elephant had waited a lifetime for – a family of his own.

In July 2014 the gentle giant, who captured the hearts of people from around the world when he cried as he was freed from chains after 50 years – joined five female Elephants at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in India.

His new family, named the Herd of Hope, have all been rescued from barbaric treatment.

HAPPY CHAPPY: RAJU, CENTRE, WAS INTRODUCED TO HIS NEW FRIENDS AT A CONSERVATION CENTRE IN INDIA
ENJOYING HIMSELF: RAJU SMILES WIDELY AS HE RELAXES IN THE POOL NEXT TO HIS NEW FAMILY – CALLED THE HERD OF HOPE.
GANG’S ALL HERE: RAJU’S FRIENDS HAVE ALSO ESCAPED FROM GREAT CRUELTY AND NOW LIVE IN MATHURA, NORTHERN INDIA.

And poignantly, they flapped their ears – an expression of joy – before touching him with their trunks as they welcomed him.

Charity Wildlife SOS founder Kartick Satyanarayan, who led the rescue operation to save Raju, said: ‘We are delighted Raju has fitted in so well with the first family he’s ever had since he was orphaned by poachers as a calf.

‘He had been so terribly brutalized for 50 years that we feared he’d be unable to live with his own kind. He didn’t even know how to be an Elephant. But now it’s like he’s always been with them.

‘When we first released him, he held back, and he was clearly wary. Three of our female Elephants Laxmi, Chanchal and Sai Geeta ran up to him – their ears flapping wildly –a sign they were excited and delighted to meet him. They also made high-pitched trumpeting sounds – a greeting.

AFFECTIONATE: ONE OF RAJU’S FEMALE FRIENDS, LEFT, STROKES HIS TRUNK WITH HERS. HE WAS INITIALLY WARY OF CONTACT BECAUSE OF HIS APPALLING TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF HIS CAPTORS.
REHABILITATION: THE POOL’S WATER LETS RAJU TAKE WEIGHT OFF OF HIS LEGS – WHICH ARE PAINFUL FROM YEARS OF ABUSE.

TAKING IT EASY: RAJU WAS POACHED AS A CALF – AND ENDURED AN AWFUL LIFE AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION – BUT CAN NOW RELAX.

‘Then each of them touched him with their trunks, clearly reassuring him before they wandered off into the grazing land at our Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura. It was incredibly touching after all he’d been through.’

On July 4 this year the charity along with their counterparts in India saved Raju from dying in his bonds in a daring midnight rescue operation.

A  team of ten vets and wildlife experts from the charity were joined by twenty Forestry Department officers and six policemen to seize Raju in the Uttar Pradesh region.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘He’d been poached as a calf from the wild. Poachers either slaughter the mother, or they drive the herd into traps that are small enough only for the babies to fall into.

‘The mother cries for her baby for days after he’s been stolen – the illegal Elephant trade is sickening. The calves are then tied and beaten until they submit to their owners – their spirits are effectively broken.

’27 OWNERS’: RAJU, RIGHT, WAS PASSED FROM OWNER TO OWNER IN CAPTIVITY, AND EVENTUALLY WAS FOUND IN SPIKED CHAINS.

PLAYTIME: RAJU, LEFT, HAS BEEN ABLE TO START HIS RECOVERY IN THE SANCTUARY, AFTER BEING BLIGHTED BY WOUNDS ALL OVER HIS LEGS AND BODY WHILE IN CAPTIVITY.

‘Raju’s case was particularly tragic as we believe he has been sold again and again and might have had 27 owners – he’s been treated as a commodity and beaten into accepting his new handler every two years of his life.

‘By the time we found him he was in a pathetic condition. He hadn’t been fed properly and tourists started giving him sweet food items and because he was in a state of hunger and exhaustion, he began eating plastic and paper.

‘He had no shelter at night and was being used as a prop to beg with from dawn until dusk or being used for giving tourists joy rides. And most heartrendingly of all – the chains that cut into his legs had been there for 50 years. It was horrific.

‘It took us 45 minutes to remove the shackles that had torn into the flesh on his legs for the past 50 years – an act of unthinkable cruelty.

‘His legs were so covered in abscesses and his feet so damaged by walking on hard tarmac roads, that we have spent much more than expected on his medical treatment, and we still have a long way to go as he has a serious limp and open wounds.’

TEARFUL: RAJU, PICTURED ABOVE MOMENTS BEFORE HE WAS FREED FROM CAPTIVITY, CAN BE SEEN WITH ‘TEARS’ STREAMING DOWN HIS FACE.
CRUEL: ACCORDING TO HIS RESCUERS, RAJU HAD BEEN IN CHAINS FOR AS LONG AS 50 YEARS.

BOUND: RAJU’S CHAINS, SEEN UP CLOSE ABOVE, TOOK 45 MINUTES FOR RESCUERS TO DISENTANGLE.

The Elephants Raju has joined have also suffered horrendously before they were rescued by the charity.

The second most recent member of the herd is eighteen-year-old female Laxmi, saved from the streets of Mumbai ten months ago. Although she was young, she suffered from severe arthritis, obesity and a heart condition.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘She’d been exploited and used as a begging prop, she was neglected and her owners had got her addicted to fried junk food.

‘When we saved her she was 1,200 kilos overweight and so fat we had to use a crane to get her onto a specially-strengthened truck to drive her to our centre. She was so huge her knees were giving way and she had early arthritis.

‘Our vets were concerned that she would not live much longer if she was not rescued immediately. But she has a great, if mischievous, character – even on the drive home her trunk kept sneaking through the window and she was searching in the driver’s pockets for a treat.

‘We have spent the last 10 months rehabilitating her – and at first it was a battle to get her to eat the food she should be eating. Now she’s finally getting healthier, leaner and enjoying being a free Elephant.

‘But although Wildlife SOS was given legal custody of her by the Forest Department, her previous cruel owners are petitioning the courts to get her back and so  now we are in a court battle to stop her being returned to the abusive situation we rescued her from.’

MIDNIGHT RAID: WILDLIFE SOS FOUNDER KARTICK SATYANARAYAN BREAKING RAJU FREE FROM CAPTIVITY.

Chanchal, 16, was rescued on June 29, 2012, on the outskirts of Delhi after she and a second Elephant were hit by a speeding truck.

The second Elephant was killed instantly and Chanchal was left with cuts, shards of glass and wounds all over her body as well as a severely injured leg. She was undernourished and her owners were arrested for negligence.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Her leg was fractured and it’s taken us 18 months to nurse her back to health. She’s slowly rebuilding her life.’

Sai Geeta was a circus Elephant who was rescued after she was made to perform for years with a broken right rear leg.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘She still has a terrible limp where the break was never treated – the fracture was severe and when we rescued her she’d suffered for years in pain as it was never allowed to heal as they never allowed her to rest.’

ROAD TO FREEDOM: RAJU WAS TAKEN TO THE SANCTUARY IN MATHURA, NORTHERN INDIA, IN THIS TRUCK.

Finally Phoolkali, who is blind in one eye was smuggled illegally for years before the charity was alerted to her plight and immediately stepped in to rescue her.

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Phoolkali had spent more than 40 years of her life doing hard labour, being abused and being underfed. And her maltreatment and severe abuse by her previous owners caused her to be blinded in one eye.

‘Her owner would hide her in a windowless, deserted warehouse. Her owner would smuggle her across state borders in the dead of night to avoid detection by the authorities as he has no valid documentation for her legal possession.

‘She was frail and scrawny and almost skeletal in appearance and covered in sores and wounds.

‘Now she loves throwing mud on herself immediately after a long bath – much to the annoyance of her keeper – and also throws mud on him when he isn’t paying attention.’

YEARS TO RECOVER: THE HEAD OF WILDLIFE SOS SAID THAT IT TAKES YEARS TO RECOVER FROM RAJU’S DECADES-LONG ORDEAL.

Today the nightmare for Raju and his herd is a distant memory. And they are also enjoying a rehabilitation pool thanks to the generosity of donors to the centre.

Mr Satyanarayan said: :We are overwhelmed by the generosity of people from so many countries around the globe. We hope that if the donations continue, better facilities can be established for Raju and the other Elephants at the Centre who all deserve a better life to make up for the abuse they suffered all these years.

‘When we rescued him, Raju had never been in a pool before – and now he spends hours relaxing inside it. We’d like to thank everyone who donated – every penny has made such a difference to the quality of his life.

‘And while the pool is immensely pleasurable for him, it also is helping his rehabilitation as the water’s buoyancy enables him to take the weight off his legs which are incredibly painful from years of being shackled.

‘He still faces years of treatment to heal both the physical and psychological wounds. And sadly he’s not alone. We have a dossier of 80 Elephants whose life is in imminent peril and they also need to be rescued before they die of cruelty, exhaustion and abuse.’

Mr Satyanarayan said: ‘Our hope is that along with Raju, we can rescue many more of these tragic cases before it’s too late for them. It will enable them to taste freedom for the first time in their lives and live out their days in dignity, free from suffering and pain.’

RAJU’S ONE YEAR WITH NO TEARS!

Keep up to date at Wildlife SOS’s Elephant Conservation and Care Centre

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The Fight To Free Three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants – High Court Application Filed.

JOHANNESBURG ZOO ‘INMATES’ LAMMIE, MOPANE AND RAMADIBA

A ground-breaking application for the release of three Elephants, held captive for public display purposes at the Johannesburg Zoo, was filed on the 20th of June 2022.

The application was brought by Cullinan and Associates, representing Animal Law Reform South Africa, EMS Foundation and Chief Stephen Fritz.

As sentient beings, Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are housed in an enclosure in the Johannesburg Zoo, under conditions that fail to meet even their most basic needs.  Experts have confirmed that the Elephants are exhibiting psychological distress symptoms as a result of inadequate living conditions.

There is no precedent for a case like this in South Africa, calling for the release of the Elephants to a sanctuary where they could roam freely.

Lammie has been living at the Jhb Zoo for 42 years – her entire life. In 2018, her companion of 17 years, Kinkel, passed away. At the time, the NSPCA and Humane Society International called for Lammie’s release, but the Zoo Management decided to source new companions (read ‘fellow inmates’) for her, completely ignoring the public outcry.

In 2019 the zoo ignored please to #FreeLammie and introduceds two new Elephants to her captivity instead ~ Mopane and Ramadiba.

HSI/Africa’s Wildlife Director Audrey Delsink, said: “We are furious that instead of doing the right and honourable thing for Lammie by giving her freedom in a vast sanctuary with a new elephant herd, Johannesburg Zoo has forged ahead and brought two new elephants for Lammie to share what remains of her life in captivity. Such was their haste to acquire these elephants, they have done so without completing any of the expansion or renovation work they promised and ignored both public opinion and the pleas of some of the world’s most eminent elephant experts and conservationists. The Gauteng Legislature has also utterly failed to respect the wishes of the 301,652 petitioners who called for Lammie to be released. Johannesburg zoo claims it acted legally but the question is has it acted morally, and from Lammie’s point of view the answer is no. This decision denies Lammie, and the two new elephants, the chance of a decent, fulfilling life. This sorry episode has exposed the zoo authorities as lagging far behind global trends to close elephant zoo exhibits, something that 150 progressive, modern zoos have already done in recognition of the inescapable fact that such captivity cannot meet elephants’ complex physiological, psychological and social requirements. Johannesburg Zoo may well have acted on the right side of the law, but they have found themselves on the wrong side of history.”

Despite the fact that 52 zoos across Europe and North America have closed their Elephant exhibits, there are still more than 1000 Elephants held captive in zoos around the world, for human entertainment. This figure includes 22 Namibian wild-caught desert-adapted Elephants, recently sold and transported to Dubai.

Elephants are highly social, complex animals, living in structured hierarchy in the wild, normally in herds numbering around 75 individuals. They form close ties with family members, and are not able to adapt to a life that is worlds apart from how they were meant to live.

There are many cases that illustrate the results of trauma bestowed upon Elephants during capturing and culling, such as the Pilanesberg Orphans. Rescued from an indiscriminate Kruger National Park culling, the young males in this instance ended up killing Rhinos and attacking tourists, because they had no role models (no adult, experienced males) as patriarchs.

Torn from their families to be inserted into a life of forced captivity, the three Johannesburg Zoo Elephants have no access to any normal surroundings mimicking Nature; they live isolated, unnatural lives, without any enrichment and without the support and love from a normal Elephant family.

The South African Constitution makes provision for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. This court application highlights the chasm between the interpretation of the law, and the physical situation that the Elephants are enduring.

Stephen Fritz, Senior Chief of the South Peninsula Customary Khoisan Council, said the legal remedy is being sought to have the elephants released to live out the remainder of their lives in a natural environment.

“Leading global Elephant experts have attested to the fact that Lammie, Mopane and Ramadiba are highly intelligent, socially complex and sentient beings who are living in conditions that are averse to their well-being, and are as a result in a state of distress.

“The conditions offered by the Johannesburg Zoo do not meet their fundamental physical, mental and emotional needs.”

Fritz said imprisoning the elephants showcases the past and the present will humiliate and disrespect South Africa’s culture and heritage. 

“For many years I have felt ashamed and powerless: I am, therefore, relieved that a large number of experts and scientists have united, bringing together a wealth of knowledge to offer these Elephants a powerful defence. “

In his affidavit, Fritz argues that the manner in which the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo confine and exhibit the elephants is offensive to the culture and living heritage of the Khoi peoples, and undermines the recovery and perpetuation of their living heritage.

“Despite repeated representations and requests to release the elephants from captivity at the Johannesburg Zoo, the officials have failed or refused to do so.”

Fritz said the applicants are requesting that the court release the elephants into the care of the EMS Foundation, which will appoint relevant and qualified experts to assess the elephants and manage their relocation, rehabilitation and reintegration into a wild environment.

Both Lammie and her previous partner, Kinkel, who died at the zoo, have been injured after falling into the moat. In 2001, Lammie fell in and was reported to have “both right legs stiff” and broke her tusk, but survived. Kinkel fell into the moat in 2007 but was apparently uninjured. He died at the zoo in September last year after a long-term history of chronic colic and eating sand. He was 35 years old.

LAMMIE ON THE EDGE OF THE MOAT THAT HE FELL INTO AND INJURED HERSELF

Following Kinkel’s death, Joburg Zoo stated that the elephant enclosure would be enlarged. However, no such improvements have been made.

To this day, no renovations have been implemented and Ramadiba and Mopane were added to the same small and inadequate enclosure that Lammie has endured for 39 years. Furthermore, the new elephants, though of captive origin, were in a free contact system and were able to roam the confines of their previous home. Now, they will be imprisoned in a half hectare enclosure and have to face new challenges such as the moat.

“This is a sad day for elephants, yet another two elephants are unnecessarily been subjected to a life of imprisonment due to the lack of ethical management choices made by Joburg Zoo.” said Brett Mitchell, Director of Elephant Reintegration Trust.

Humane Society International/Africa is urging South Africans to show their disapproval by refusing to visit Johannesburg Zoo and to support elephant conservation projects that only portray elephants in the wild by protecting their habitats and protecting them from the threats of poaching and exploitation.

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The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Bhogeshwara, Asia’s ‘Longest-Tusked’ Elephant Dies Of Natural Causes.

RIP BHOGESHWARA

The Elephant was a major attraction for tourists at the Kabini backwaters. The 60-year-old Elephant was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The Elephant was named Bhogeshwar by the forest department officers and tribals after he was often sighted near Bhogeshwar camp, where a temple and an anti-poaching camp are located. “Many tourists would be delighted and pleased on catching a glimpse of him, even if they were not able to sight a Tiger in Kabini. The tusker has also featured in several wildlife documentaries and films made by the department and some private organizations,” said a forest department official.

Bhogeshwara, reportedly the Elephant with the longest tusks in Asia, died of natural causes at the age of 60, according to officials. The wild Elephant, also known as Mr Kabini, was found dead in the Gundre range of Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday. The officials believe that he died three or four days ago.

According to forest department officials, Bhogeshwar’s tusks were 2.54 meters and 2.34 meters long.

Known for his gentle temperament, the Elephant frequented the Kabini backwaters for the last three decades. Wildlife enthusiasts who observed Bhogeshwara say that his calmness and long tusks used to attract the tourists at Kabini.

The director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Ramesh Kumar, said: “The field staff found the carcass. We did not find any injury marks and the tusks were intact. Usually as they age, Elephants cannot eat properly due to the wearing of their teeth. The tusks were removed and carcass was left for the natural decomposition and scavengers to feed on,” he said.

FIELD STAFF WITH THE BODY OF BHOGESHWARA

The forest department in April came out with a notification that the carcass of the wild animals will not be incinerated or buried since they are an important source of energy and nutrients for predators and scavengers. The new rule, however, does not apply to tigers.

Meanwhile, tributes poured on social media for Bhogeshwara .

Protect All Wildlife

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.

Thank you for your support and consideration.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations make it all possible. Thank you for your support.

A Viral Video Of An Elephant Doing A Headstand Leaves The Internet Angry. Here’s Why!

A video of an Elephant doing a headstand has gone viral online and triggered a discussion about animal cruelty.

The video shows Elephant standing on its head, like he’s doing a headstand.

A video circulating on social media shows an Elephant in a circus-like pose while taking a bath. But the viral video has angered social media users.

The video has been shared by Morissa Schwartz on Twitter with the caption, “I didn’t know Elephants could do this.” It has received over 380k views and has had more than 200 comments mostly expressing the belief that cruel training has been used to train the Elephant to ‘perform’.

Meanwhile, in the video, it could be heard crowd of spectators gasping and cheering at the view. After watching this act by the Elephant, angry viewers took to the comment section to express their outrage. Many of them even claimed that the headstand was not real and the big creature was trained for doing so. People also said that there are chances that the animal was unethically trained to do it to entertain the crowd. The video has spread outrage on the internet.

Here are a just a few of the comments it garnered:

It is very essential for us to understand that these animals go through a lot of fear and pain in making such moves. The humans train them and brutally torture these animals to make them do these poses.

ELEPHANTS ARE BEATEN INTO SUBMISSION FROM A VERY YOUNG AGE

But we, the citizens, can create a groundswell of changes and instil compassion in the hearts of cruel human beings while creating a safe world for Elephants. If you’re genuinely hurt and angered by the atrocities against Elephants, here are nine things you can do right now:

1. Scratch off Elephant rides from your bucket list.

2. Boycott festivals that exploit Elephants and perpetuate cruelty

3. Do not visit zoos, circuses, or any entertainment that involves Elephants or any animals for that matter.

4. Educate yourself and influence your immediate circle of family and friends, creating ripples of change. Gods in Shackles is a great educational aid that exposes the dark truth behind captivity.

6. Write letters and petitions to your elected officials.

7. Remember to vote – you have the power to vote them out.

8. Share this story and help create awareness.

9. Write a science-based review on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.

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The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty and promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE.

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Watch Forest Officials Rescue A Baby Elephant Stuck In A Muddy Ditch With The Help Of A JCB: Video

THE BABY ELEPHANT GETS A HELPING PUSH UP FROM A JCB

One lucky little Elephant has captured the hearts of people across the internet after it was rescued from a mud pit in the Southern India state of Karnataka.

A video of the rescue operation staged by state forest officials has charmed netizens, as it also shows what some people say was an appreciative gesture from the Elephant, who turned to address the crane that helped to dig it out.

THE BABY ELEPHANT BEING RESCUED FROM A DEEP PIT BY A JCB

The incident took place in Siddapura Village in Coorg district of Karnataka, reported Indian Express.

A good Samaritan recorded and shared the clip, which has been viewed over one million times on Twitter alone. The beginning of the video shows the Elephant struggling to climb up and out of a slippery mud put. Each time it tries, it slips back down the hole’s steep walls. Eventually, an excavator machine pulls in and begins to dig mud out from around the Elephant.

THE ELEPHANT KEPT SLIDING BACK INTO THE PIT

Bystanders can be heard cheering as the arm of the JBC crane reaches behind the Elephant and gives it a gentle push, giving it the boost it needs to finally get its feet back on solid ground.

The lumbering animal then turns back around to face its rescuers, bumping its head and tusk to the machine’s bucket in what some are viewing as a sign of appreciation. Onlookers can be heard cheering loudly as it does, then officials set off a small firecracker to encourage the Elephant to leave the area and return to the forest.

Sudha Ramen, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Tamilnadu Forest Department shared the video from her Twitter account. She told Newsweek, “Elephants are mostly human-friendly until they get aggressive stimulated by human behaviour or have some hormonal imbalances. They are known to recognize the aid received when they are in need.”

Even though this behaviour can be observed in subadult and adult Elephants, young ones are not as human-friendly or expressive.

She added that when such rescues happen in a crowded environment, the animal is usually in panic mode and may get aggressive because of human presence or too much noise.

“But in this situation not many outsiders were present. Still, I do not say that the animal returned a gesture in this case. It may be an exhibit of stress too,” Ramen told Newsweek, addressing the belief shared by many that the head bump was ‘thank you’ in the Elephant language.

Her tweet with the video has been viewed more than a million times. She credited the video to Indian actor Satish Shah who initially shared it on his Twitter page.

SUDHA RAMEN, DEPUTY CONSERVATOR OF FORESTS, TAMILNADU FOREST DEPARTMENT SHARED THE VIDEO FROM HER TWITTER ACCOUNT.

The usage of machinery such as a JBC depends upon the terrain, the animal involved in the rescue, and other safety factors, according to Ramen. The vehicle often comes in handy as many of its features make it able to handle slushy, slippery ground, and many rescue operations are carried out in the forest or nearby in areas that are usually non-motorable larger vehicles.

“Such operations are done only in the presence of the forest officials and vet doctors, so the driver gets guided by them,” Ramen told Newsweek.

“This made my day 1,000 times. Kudos to the construction crew and operator. And Mr. Elephant is the classiest mammal I’ve ever seen,” commented one user.

While many appreciated the machine operator’s work, some also questioned the use of smoke crackers in the end.

“It seems the Elephant was actually very grateful to the JCB for helping her/him by doing a head bump with it. Instead of busting smoke to scare it away, we could be gentler next time by keeping some food nearby so that they can replenish and get busy without charging at anyone,” wrote another.

THE RESCUED ELEPHANT APPEARS TO THANK THE JCB

However, the rescue team is always advised to carry the smokers along for safety reasons, Ramen told Newsweek, saying it is not necessarily standard practice to use them but they are commonly deployed when herds venture into villages or human habitations.

“It is used on occasions to direct the animal back into the forest and also to protect the nearby people if the animal tries to attack them,” she said.

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Asian Elephant Mom Carries Dead Calf For Weeks, New Eye-Opening Videos Reveal

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead.

Female Elephants are very protective of their calves, and when youngsters die, some mothers continue carrying their babies’ corpses. 

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead, sometimes even carrying their lost infants in their trunks for days or weeks, new research finds. 

Whether Elephants  understand death in the same way humans do is unknown — and probably unknowable. But Asian Elephants are social creatures, and the new research adds to the evidence that they experience some sort of emotional response when they lose one of their own.

“Understanding Elephants’ response to death might have some far reaching effects on their conservation,” study co-authors Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and Nachiketha Sharma of the  Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, wrote to Live Science in an email. “We have personally observed that when people witness an elephant responding to a dead kin, there will be some sense of relatedness, compassion and empathy towards the species. Therefore, anything which instantly connects people might pave the way for coexistence in elephant ranging countries.” 

Death ritual

African bush Elephants have long been observed reacting emotionally when a herd member dies. They might approach the body and touch it with their trunks, kick at the corpse or stand nearby as if on guard. Asian Elephants, however, are less well-understood. They tend to live in forested habitat, so they are harder to observe in the wild than savanna-dwelling African elephants.

“They can be 100 feet [30 meters] away from you, and you might not see them because the forest is so dense,” said Brian Aucone, the senior vice president for life sciences at the Denver Zoo, who was not involved in the new study. .

To get around this, Pokharel, Sharma, and their co-author Raman Sukumar, all of the Indian Institute of Science at the time, turned to YouTube, where remarkable animal videos are a staple. They searched the site for keywords related to Asian Elephants and death, and uncovered 39 videos of 24 cases between 2010 and 2021 in which one or more Asian Elephants were seen reacting to the loss of a herd mate. Eighty percent of the videos showed wild Elephants, 16% captive Elephants and 4% semi-captive Elephants (typically, semi-captive Elephants are animals that work in the timber industry or in tourist parks in Asia).

Some of the most striking behaviors seen in the videos occurred when a calf died. In five of the 12 videos showing a deceased calf, a female adult — likely the mother — was seen carrying the calf. Based on the state of decomposition of the corpse, it appeared that this carrying behavior went on for days or weeks.

Indian Forest Service ranger Parveen Kaswan uploaded one such video in 2019, showing an Asian Elephant dragging the body of a calf across a road in what he likened to a “funeral procession” in a post on Twitter at the time.

“I think they’re holding on and trying to grasp what has happened, and there’s something happening there with their interaction with their offspring, just like it would be with us,” Aucone said of the behavior.

Other commonEelephant reactions seen in the videos included restlessness or alertness when near the corpse; exploratory movements such as approaching or investigating the body; or touching and smelling. Elephants communicate through scent, Aucone said, so the sniffing is not surprising. In 10 cases, the elephants tried to lift, nudge or shake the body, as if to attempt to revive their lost comrade. In 22 cases, they seemed to stand vigil over the body.

AN ELEPHANT STROKING THE DEAD BODY WITH HIS TRUNK AS OTHERS STAND GUARD

“We’ve seen some of this before ourselves,” Aucone told Live Science. When the zoo euthanizes older Elephants due to illness or infirmity, the staff give herd mates a chance to say goodbye, Aucone said. The survivors often sniff the deceased Elephant or lay their trunks by its mouth, a social behavior.

Animal grief

Elephants aren’t the only social creatures that react to death, especially to the death of babies. Orca mothers have been observed pushing their dead calves around, as have dolphins. In 2018, an orca female named Tahlequah off the coast of Washington held on to her lost baby for 17 days. Other female orcas were seen huddled around Tahlequah and her dead newborn in the hours after the baby’s death in what looked like a circle of grief. Ape and monkey mothers sometimes carry around dead infants for weeks or months.

TAHLEQUAH PUSHED THE BODY OF HER DEAD BABY FOR 17 DAYS

In the case of the Elephants, which are devoted to caring for their young, the mother-calf bond is fundamental, Pokharel, Sharma and Sukumar wrote in the study, published Wednesday (May 18) in the journal Royal Society Open Science(opens in new tab). This is true of primates, as well, Pokharel and Sharma told Live Science.

“[T]he mother-calf/infant bonding in both Elephants and primates have some striking similarities as both nurture their young until they become strong enough to forage and defend themselves,” they wrote. “Therefore, this long lasting bond between mothers and calves/infants may potentially motivate mothers to respond towards their unresponsive calves. It is very difficult to predict the exact causations and functionality behind the dead infants carrying. But, some of the YouTube videos certainly provide evidence that some species may have some sense of death awareness.”

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The Wildlife Friends Foundation Launches Largest Tiger Rescue In Thailand As Phuket Zoo Closes

The Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) is carrying out the largest tiger rescue in Thailand’s history as the renowned wildlife animal welfare and rescue organisation prepares to take custody of 11 tigers and two bears handed over by Phuket Zoo.

WFFT founder and director Edwin Wiek confirmed the news.

Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation

“We are finishing off the new side enclosures for the Tigers right now, and we will be ready to pick up the first 4-6 in the coming week. We are still waiting for documents to move the Tigers, but I am pretty sure this ill be done by the end of the week.” Mr Wiek told Protect All Wildlife.

Part of the area at the WFFT site in Phetchaburi that the tigers and bears from Phuket Zoo will soon call home. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

Mr Wiek explained that he and Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, founder of the Elephant Nature Park, discussed the handover of the animals with the Phuket Zoo owners.

The zoo has been hard hit by the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the facility without tourist visitors for nearly two years.

Despite previous encounters between WFFT and Phuket Zoo over the conditions many of the animals were kept in at the zoo, the parties set aside any animosity in order to determine the safe future for the animals, Mr Wiek noted.

Horrifying scenes inside abandoned Phuket zoo where starving animals are forced to live in squalor

“They were genuinely very concerned about the animals. They said they had refused offers for the animals’ skins and bones,” he said.

“As WFFT has the facilities and expertise to take care of large carnivores and currently houses more than 30 other bears, it was concluded that WFFT could provide the best life-long care for these animals which require urgent rehoming,” Mr Wiek explained. 

Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT) will also rehome two bears from Phuket Zoo. Photo: Edwin Wiek / WFFT

The rescue and rehoming of 11 Tigers to a sanctuary will be the biggest Tiger rescue in Thailand’s history. However, due to the financial impact of COVID-219, WFFT must first raise the funds required to rescue these 13 animals. As such WFFT is asking for financial support to undertake this historic rescue, he noted.

“This rescue will be no small feat for WFFT. The financial resources required to rescue and transport 13 large animals from Phuket to WFFT alone will be significant,” Mr Wiek said.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have received more calls than ever from entertainment venues who cannot afford to feed their animals anymore. We try to help as many as we can. The fact is, though, that without financial support, we cannot help more.

“We are urging our friends in Phuket, in Thailand and around the world to please help with what will be a huge rescue, not only for WFFT, but for Tigers in Thailand,” he said.

WFFT is a registered foundation in Thailand. 

“In Thailand, like in every country in the world, animals are abused and exploited for profit and human gratification. There are many examples of animal exploitation within the tourist industry, for example, photo prop animals, animals performing in degrading shows, and elephant camps. Furthermore, there is still a thriving illegal trade in wild animals for pets and medicine,” the organisation explains on its website.

The top three major goals of the organisation are:

  • To rescue and rehabilitate captive wild animals and provide high-quality care and a safe environment for them to live for the rest of their lives, in a setting as close to nature as possible.
  • To campaign against all forms of animal abuse and exploitation in Thailand, work towards ending the illegal pet trade and discourage people from keeping all wild animals as pets. WFFT actively seeks to combat the illegal wildlife trade and to rescue animals from poor conditions or exploitation from human entertainment.
  • To provide veterinary assistance to any sick or injured animal; wild or domestic.

To learn more about Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), visit the official website here: https://www.wfft.org/

This video shows various animals including Tigers, Bears, and Alligators left for dead at Phuket Zoo due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The tourism industry all over the world has definitely been brought to a sudden halt but the animals who played a major role in that have also been abandoned. The clip was originally uploaded on YouTube and was shot by an Australian named Minh Nguyen, who lives and works in Thailand. 

“We are still fundraising for the tigers, and hopefully we will get some more much needed financial support in the weeks to come.” told Protect All Wildlife.

If you like to help fund this amazing rescue operation please donate ANY amount, large or small, at Phuket Zoo Animal Rescue.

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