1.) Now that you have launched the circus elephant campaign, does that mean you will only be helping elephants from circuses?
No, circus elephants are our primary concern right now, however that does not mean that Wildlife SOS will no longer cater to the needs of rescuing and rehabilitating elephants other than circus elephants. In fact we are currently planning to rescue a sad and blind female elephant used for begging and performances in Maharashtra and a second one in Central India who has massive abscesses injuries after a road accident and is also arthritic.
2.) There are 67 elephants that need rescuing, which elephants will you rescue first?
This will depend on the health condition of the elephant, age, as well as its legal status.
3.) What are some of the obstacles you are facing with this campaign?
We are facing legal battles for many of the elephants which we rescue or wish to rescue which makes the process very slow and difficult. We also need to be able to generate adequate support to cover legal costs as well as to provide these elephants medical attention, veterinary facilities and life time care. Once these elephants have been bought to the rescue center, we need to address the elephant’s needs of an exercise yard, a pool, enrichment etc which requires funds.
4) How long do you think it will take to rescue these many elephants and do you have the land needed for caring for them?
We are in it for the long haul and will not rest or stop until this is done. We are collaborating with the Government of India and State Governments to expand the existing facilities while creating additional elephant rescue & rehabilitation facilities. We welcome donations of land and funds for land purchase to help us with the elephants.
5.) Will all of the circus elephants be coming to Wildlife SOS?
This depends on availability of space and the Government’s decision. We shall certainly be assisting with their rescue even if they don’t all come to Wildlife SOS.
6.) Is there anything people can do to help with this campaign besides giving money?
People can spread awareness about the plight of begging, performing and circus elephants in India and they can refuse to watch animals perform or take elephant rides. This should be managed in every country through travel advisories, travel agents and tour companies so tourists visiting India don’t inadvertently promote cruelty and abuse of captive elephants. Volunteer with our elephant projects and help us hands on. We need committed volunteers to help us gather evidence, facilitate documentation and also help us with campaign efforts, awareness camps as well as working in the elephant care center with our team members. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer.
7.) You have raised the money needed to rescue a couple of elephants, why is it taking so much time to bring them to your center?
Rescuing Suzy and the other circus elephants is a challenging task and a long drawn out process with many complex legal issues entwined within it that require to be addressed before we can begin the rescue process. We have learnt lessons from Raju and Laxmi’s court cases and would like to avoid delays if we can help it. Therefore we are taking all precautions necessary to avoid this. The legal paperwork and documentation takes a lot of time and is the only thing keeping us away from rescuing the circus elephants. We’ll keep you informed regarding the rescues as soon as they begin!
8.) Are you concerned that some of the circus elephants will disappear before you have had a chance to rescue them?
Yes, this is a concern indeed. But since the circuses have confirmed the existence of these elephants to the Forest Department, Animal Welfare Board of India and the Central Zoo Authority, they are obliged to produce the elephant when asked to do so or produce proof of death if they claim the elephant is dead. We are putting together a team to keep track of these elephants and will try to keep an eye on these animals regularly. The distance between the circus locations and the fact that the circuses move all over India every few weeks is a logistical challenge for us.