Ashish Batura has been a dedicated and invaluable member of the Wildlife SOS team since 2008. Recently, he relocated to Haryana where he has become the Coordinating Officer for the Elephant Rehabilitation Center. We recently sat down with him to find out more about his personal experiences working for Wildlife SOS and his work with the elephants.
What is the best part of your job?
Ashish: I love being in nature. So much of what I have learned here I could never learn from books. Everyday, there is something new to learn and I feel proud of what I am doing to help.
What have you learned about elephants since taking on this position?
Currently there are 3 elephants living here: Ella, Erika and Lilly. These females love to be by themselves in the forest. Especially if they are playing, they like to have their privacy. When they want fruits to eat, they will usually seek us out. Working with these elephants I am surprised everyday.
What is a typical day like for you?
There are many things I do to ensure that the facility is well run and the elephants have a good quality of life. I ensure that they are getting the exercise they need, their home is clean and the food they eat is of good quality. Their health and safety is my ultimate concern so I ensure they have health checks and the facility remains a sanctuary that minimizes stress.
What message do you have for people who want to help elephants?
Please do not pay people who have working elephants. This adds to suffering of captive elephants throughout India. If you can, please support Wildlife SOS, every bit helps!
Tell us about the elephants under your care.
Ella is the oldest at approximately 75 years old. She looks after Erika (50 ish) and Lilly (35). Ella arrived with Erika on the same day about 18 months ago. Lilly made the group a trio in October. Ella shows her protectiveness towards Erika and Lilly by always staying close by their side. Ella has missing bottom teeth and we have tried to give her special food that would be easier to chew. However, she prefers to eat what the other two are having.
What are your goals for 2015?
Rescue more elephants and bring them to the center so that they can have a good life.
What is your biggest challenge when rescuing an elephant?
Many people do not understand that it is for the elephants good when we are attempting to rescue an elephant. Many people will gather around and try to prevent an elephant rescue from happening. If more people understood how badly these elephants were suffering, I believe that people would be more supportive of what we are trying to do.
What is the most difficult thing about taking in a new rescued elephant?
Introducing the new elephants to one another is the most stressful part of bringing in a new elephant. We never know how quickly they will accept one other.
What do you do when you are introducing new elephants to one another?
We need to have them monitored continuously for at least 10 days straight. Usually at this point we feel comfortable that they have adjusted to one another.
What do you do when you are not working?
I have a wife and baby, I love to spend time with my family. I also love adventure sports.
What is your favorite movie?
I love comedies but my favorite movie is Black Beauty