Hohenwald, TN, October 27, 2011 – Elephant Aid International (EAI), a Carol Buckley Project, announces its official partnership with the Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC), one of India’s foremost wildlife organizations, to create the first prototype Elephant Care and Rehabilitation Center in Karnataka, Bangalore, India.
With the endorsement of the Indian government, this private project will serve as a model for future care and rehabilitation centers throughout the country. The center will rehabilitate elephants who have been removed from the confines of zoos, circuses and temples, and offer them a more natural lifestyle, free of chains and negative management techniques.
Carol Buckley, founder, president and CEO of EAI, will supervise the Center’s development, training of mahouts (elephant handlers) and elephant acquisition and relocation. This first facility will house up to seven elephants.
“We are honored to partner with WRRC on this landmark project,” said Buckley. “I believe this care center will be a beacon of hope and a challenge for change for people working to improve the lives of captive elephants.
There is an urgent need for care centers (what are known as sanctuaries in the U.S.) in India. In November 2009, the country’s Central Zoo Authority mandated that all elephants be removed from zoos and placed in alternative facilities better suited to address their needs. India’s wildlife parks and game sanctuaries are not well suited for zoo elephants and, until now, no other alternative existed.
In August 2010, the Elephant Task Force of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a set of recommendations, including the creation of state-of-the-art lifetime care centers.
Designed to provide freedom of movement and a healthy social environment, care and rehabilitation centers will provide a safe place for elephants to escape the abuses of captivity.
- The centers will support the rehabilitation of elephants suffering from physical and psychological trauma by providing a more naturalistic environment.
- They will not involve tourism.
- The grounds will be fenced, eliminating the need to restrain elephants with leg chains.
All mahouts will be trained in Compassionate Elephant Care techniques, a system developed by Buckley that is based on understanding elephant biology, physiology and psychology; relationship building between the mahouts and their elephants; and positive reinforcement.
The number of elephants housed at the Center will be limited to ensure there is adequate vegetation for them on-site and in the bordering national forest. The elephants will have access to areas of the forest during daylight hours and will return to the Center at night.
The Center is based on The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, which Buckley co-founded and led to international recognition as one of the leading models of humane management of elephants in captivity.