Elephants are definitely among the most loved animals in the world, gentle giants as we like to call them. Sadly, while African elephants are being hunted for their ivory tusks, in Asia they are captured from the wild for private ownership and commercial use.
However not all private owners are bad, some of them do have a change in heart, and we hope this change of heart turns into an epidemic. A positive story recently emerged from Tamil Nadu when a religious and spiritual organisation, owners of many important temples in the region, handed over three of their temple elephants to the animal welfare organisations- TREE Foundation, Chennai and WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre), Bengaluru. Both organisations are much admired for their work in the space of wildlife rescue and welfare. Together they have setup an Elephant Care Facility near Pondicherry to help rehabilitate the temple elephants.
The facility serves to allow abused and neglected elephants, to have the freedoms which they have been denied. Here the Elephants have the freedom to move around without chains in a natural, protected, near-wild space; the freedom to sleep, walk, play or bathe under benevolent human monitoring and presence; the freedom to play with water or indulge in dust-baths and other normal behaviour; they have freedom from fear of emotional or physical pain and distress; the freedom to indulge in natural social interactions, and above all freedom from injury, disease and malnutrition. A visit to the facility will help one understand how captive elephants live in near natural surroundings.
On the visit you can observe the elephants being bathed, feed and watch the elephants eat their vegetable and fruits in the presence of the Mahouts (caregivers), walk alongside the mahouts and the elephants to the coconut grove, watch at a safe distance, the elephants dust bathing, grazing and socializing in the grove, learn about their emotional and social behaviour and watch a short video about the story of the elephants.
While we firmly believe that the best place to observe Elephants are in the wild, where they move around freely, the Elephant Care Facility is a praiseworthy effort in caring for those Elephants who cannot be sent back to the wild. Needless to say guest visits help raise funds which goes towards caring for the Elephants and for upkeep of the surroundings. We hope you will join us in celebrating the new found love and freedom of these gentle giants.