Walking with elephants

Lunch time with elephantsI’ll never forget the first time I was with Asian elephants in the wild in Kaziranga, Assam, India.

I was helping to take a party of orphaned elephants from IFAW’s Wildlife Rescue Centre on their “daily constitutional” in the forest. The elephants were walking calmly in single file but I made the mistake of getting in front of “Tinku “ which may well translate as “the naughty one”.

Tinku playfully pushed me in the back and I stumbled and lost my footing. As I looked up from the forest floor, I could swear Tinku was joining in the laughter of my human companions. In spite of my painful loss of dignity, the walk continued peacefully and ended with a long bath for the happy elephants.

How do highly evolved, sociable and intelligent creatures like Tinku and his companions become orphaned? Elephants live in families and will do anything to stay together.  The answer lies in the  ever-increasing human population, leaving the elephants clinging to survival in isolated pockets of the sub-continent such as Assam. 

Elephant calves suffer the most as they become caught in the deadly conflict for space, food and water. Orphaned or isolated from their families, the young elephants perish without the intensive care and support we provide. Today, the Asian elephant is a endangered species, with fewer than 35,000 surviving in the wild.

Rescue, Care & Rehabilitation

Our Centre takes in abandoned baby elephants and provides them with the round the clock care and support they need. Expert carers and vets are on hand day and night to look after the elephants. It can take up to five years of careful nurturing before we are able to release an elephant back into the wild. We urgently need you to make a gift to help us to rescue and protect the few remaining elephants

Q. What do you give an orphaned elephant for Christmas? A Big Gift!

Our Saving The Asian Elephant appeal runs from 6th – 18th December and is part of this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge. Generous supporters have already pledged £20,000 to save the elephants. We need to raise at least another £40,000 on-line to secure a further £20,000 in matched funding from The Big Give.  If you make a gift on-line on 6th, 7 or 8th December, it will be worth double. That’s right: double! So, please go to The Big Give on 6, 7, or 8th December from 10.00 a.m.  The elephants are counting on you.

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Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy