“The joy elephants show when they’re freed from chains – you cannot mistake it. It is pure joy.”
-Carol Buckley, Founder, Elephant Aid International
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Chain Free Success: Elephant Aid International worked with Tiger Tops Elephant Camp in Nepal to create a chain free world for their elephants. The results are happy, playful, and cooperative elephants who no longer give rides, no longer participate in elephant polo games, and no longer live in chains. Their interpersonal relationships with the other elephants and their mahouts have deepened. Their lives are significantly better. Just watch these two very happy elephants sharing their joy after being released from chains!
Continue reading to learn more about EAI’s project to build solar powered chain-free corrals to contain elephants safely without chains.
In Asia, shackling elephants in chains has been virtually universal for centuries.
Day after day, often with no shelter to escape the sun’s burning rays, elephants spend hours standing in the scorching sun, legs shackled together in heavy chains that prevent them from moving more than a few inches in any direction.
The elephants are chained far enough from each other to deny them the comforting touch of another of their own kind.
Standing in their own waste, the elephants’ feet become diseased and painful from infected and necrotic tissue. They suffer from crippling arthritis and rock, bob and sway, all captivity-induced stereotypic behaviors. Many die sick and broken.
Removing chains, ending pain
EAI’s chain-free corrals eliminate the need for chains. Constructed using state-of-the-art solar-powered electric fencing, which is harmless to elephants and other wildlife, the corrals allow working elephants to live as natural a life as possible in captivity.
Each corral is at least an acre of lush forest habitat, including washes, lush grass and dense trees. Each corral has natural vegetation for shade, hygienic natural substrate for foot and joint health and fresh water for drinking, bathing and playing.
Living in the corrals, each elephant is free to move at will and engage in natural behavior such as dusting, foraging, sleeping, bathing, exploring, playing and socializing. Bonded individuals are housed together in compatible groups consisting of mothers and their suckling calves, attentive aunties and friends, all free to engage in normal social behavior.
Living in chain-free corrals, the elephants still respond favorably to their mahouts.
Watch the elephants at Tiger Tops Elephant Camp in Nepal as their chains come off for the last time. (In 2017, National Geographic selected Tiger Tops as its #1 luxury camping experience.)
National Geographic: Captive Elephants Freed From a Life in Chains
A feature in National Geographic, “Captive Elephants Freed From a Life in Chains” video highlights EAI’s work in Nepal. This 5-minute video touches on the successes of building chain-free corrals with solar-powered electric fences for elephants. Carol explains that you can’t mistake the pure joy and excitement you see in the elephants when they are unchained. In just six months, the team built 54 corrals, and while enhancements are still being made to the corrals for adult elephants, Carol‘s ultimate vision is to see all elephants unchained and free in their habitat.
- National Geographic: Captive Elephants Freed From a Life in Chains
- The Epic Moment An Elephant Who Spent 7 Years in Chains Gets to Walk Free Will Make You Smile
- Born to be Free
- Freedom for the Elephants! (Click here for the original article in German, with extensive photos)
- EAI Transformative Work in Asia with Elephants
- Sanctuaries Unshackle Elephants with Nonprofit’s Help
- Chain-free enclosure for CNP elephants
- Breaking the chains, one elephant at a time
- CNP to keep more elephants off chains
- Carol Buckley — Chains Free Campaign for Elephants