rsvp by NOVEMBER 5 - don't delay - SPACE IS LIMITED!
Why we need your help
In Asia, an estimated 16,000 elephants are currently maintained in captivity for a variety of purposes: logging, tourism, cultural and religious activities, and transportation. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is home to the largest captive Asian elephant population in the world. Of the 5,520 elephants in captivity, 2,985 are owned by the government-run Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) and 2,535 are privately owned. The number of captive elephants exceeds the number of elephants in the wild in Myanmar which number around 3,000.
In April 2014, the Myanmar government imposed a ban on exporting raw teak and timber allowing only the export of high-end finished timber products. This resulted in the MTE no longer leasing privately owned timber elephants for logging resulting in thousands of unemployed elephants and mahouts. The MTE also retired almost all the government-owned timber elephants. Unfortunately, the MTE cannot continue subsidizing the care of their elephants since they no longer generate revenue from logging. If nothing is done to provide financial support for these elephants, the government owned elephants will be put back to work logging (destroying the fragile ecosystem), be cruelly trained to be performance animals and live a life of begging, or released into the wild to fend for themselves which will most likely result in their death at the hands of poachers or from dangerous conflict with humans.
But it is also critical for the welfare of the elephants, that the mahouts and their families who care for them receive support so they can continue to help protect and care for these elephants. These animals have typically lived their entire life in captivity under the care of these mahouts and separating them would be detrimental to the well-being of the elephant since they are not able to live alone in the wild. Those who privately own elephants are already trying to deal with the loss of logging income, and those who care for government-owned elephants could soon face the same fate resulting in the loss of food and critical veterinarian care for the elephants.
Because of the relationship we have developed with the Myanmar government, we have an unprecedented opportunity to implement our innovative free and fair market solution that will help give these elephants and the mahouts a better future. Our plan will result in the creation of a safe, secure place where government AND privately owned elephants live in peace and receive the critical care they need; mahouts are trained in the newest humane standards in elephant care; the ecosystem is protected by the continued reduction in logging, the mahouts and their families have jobs, clean water, sanitation, long-term medical care and access to schools; and presents a unique opportunity for those who support our efforts to not only live near the natural habitat of elephants, but actually witness the impact of their support.
But we need to act now before this opportunity is lost. We must raise $1,250,000 to provide critical support for the elephants and the mahouts and their families who care for them while we work to implement our long-term plan which will provide perpetual funding for this effort. Your financial support will:
- Fund food and veterinary care for the 2,985 government owned elephants. This will help reduce the need for the government to return them to logging, release them into the wild where they are likely to be killed, or cruelly turned into performance animals to be used for ecotourism - $850,000
- Fund clothing, food, and small transportable solar panels for the mahouts and their families - $70,000
- Help fund critical veterinarian care for the privately-owned elephants - $100,000
- Help establish humane elephant care training programs for mahouts - $45,000
- Help fund GPS tracking devices that will be used to follow every elephant so when the government is notified of poachers in their area, a highly trained security force can be dispatched to protect the elephants and capture and prosecute those who were involved - $125,000
- Help fund a documentary that highlights the critical need to support Myanmar’s timber elephants and the families who care for them - $60,000