photos by gerry ellis from the david sheldrick wildlife trust, a nursery and orphanage for elephants in kenya’s tsavo east national park. here, fifty five keepers are charged with being around the clock parents to an elephant. the elephants, however, are the ones who chose their caretakers; it is the keepers who must ingratiate themselves to the elephants and earn their trust.
when elephants first arrive at the orphanage they are often traumatized from having witnessed the slaughter of their mothers and family by poachers. grieving can last several months, and they often lose the will to live. but as dame daphne sheldrick, founder of the orphanage, explains, a caretaker is charged with “persuading an elephant to live when it wants to die.”
approximately 35,000 elephants are killed by humans every year. with an estimated 350,000 elephants left in the whole continent of africa, they will be gone in the wild within ten years.
cbc’s the nature of things did a program on the elephants and their caretakers. you can foster an elephant with the david sheldrick wildlife trust online here. for more on the emotional lives of elephants, as well as the david sheldrick wildlife trust and other human efforts to save them, check out these posts
The project started by chance back in 2008. I was visiting the local zoo, which I hadn’t been to in ages, and started taking pictures of the captive animals, just like everyone else was doing. My attention kept being drawn to their eyes, which, to me, seemed very sad, and I ended focusing my camera on them. I was intrigued by whether my impressions would be apparent to other people in the images. I wondered if that popular old saying, referring to humans, that goes the eyes are the windows to the soul could hold true for animals as well.Oscar Ciutat
A brutal and misguided mass-cull of sharks will soon begin in Western Australia. We have just days to get it stopped.
All human deaths at sea are tragic — but this knee-jerk response is scientifically unproven and pushes already vulnerable species to the brink.
Let’s pile the pressure on WA Premier Colin Barnett to halt the senseless shark attack.
Attention everyone who watched Blackfish and was horrified by the cruelty!
It’s not just SeaWorld. ALL captive orca facilities need to be boycotted. Pictured above is every captive orca facility in the world. Allow me to elaborate about each. Going from top to bottom-
1. Kamogawa Sea World. (Not affiliated with SeaWorld the USA company.) Specifically, the whale you see watching his tank mate is called Oscar. Oscar was separated from his captive family because they believed he was too rough with them. So every day he would push himself onto the slide out to watch over his tank mates as shown above. He died earlier this year, after spending months and months alone.
2. Loro Parque. Do you remember Loro Parque being mentioned in Blackfish? The inexperienced facility that had one of their trainers killed by Keto? Well this is it. The orca you see is Tekoa. Tekoa is an extremely submissive whale and as a result of cramped conditions, he is repeatedly bullied by the two dominant females at the facility. In fact, he is so badly bullied that in ordinary circumstances, he almost appears to be stripy in appearance due to his excessive rake marks. As you can see from the picture above, his health has taken a turn for the worst and he is now emaciated.
3. Marineland Antibes. This facility is often mistaken for being one of the better captive orca facilities but do not be fooled. The tank may be large compared to other facilities but when compared to the ocean as it is in the above picture, you can see it for what it is. Orcas swim 100 miles per day but with a tank that’s only 210ft long, they would have to swim 2,514 circles just to reach their wild counter part’s. Not only that but when reading reviews of the park, it is often remarked as disgustingly dirty and outdated.
4. Marineland Ontario Kiska lives alone after SeaWorld took her only companion back. She no longer performs in shows but rather than giving her stimulation, her trainers leave her to make her own entertainment. This video explains more about where she lives than a thousand words could.
5. Miami SeaQuarium. A lot of people believe this image is photoshopped or that there must be another tank that Lolita goes to when she’s not performing. But unfortunately, this is not the case. She’s lived there for 43 after she was stolen in the Penn Cove capture. She’s not seen her own species in over a decade.
6. Mundo Marino. That’s Kshamenk. He’s a young adult male orca. He’s sexually frustrated, aggressive, unenthusiastic and is fed a diet of fish when in the wild he would consume small mammals. The tank you see above is where he spends the vast majority of his time with a few dolphins. His performing tank is not that much bigger.
7. Port Of Nagoya Aquarium. Just like Marineland Antibes, this facility is often mistaken for being one of the better ones and on the surface, it probably is the lesser of evils. However, when you look deeper, you’re faced with the reality. Port Of Nagoya, like a lot of facilities, obtains their animals from the Taiji killing cove. If you do not know what this is, please view the documentary The Cove.
8. Holding pen in Russia. The whale above, Narnia, is just one of 8 orcas who were captured in Russia. Most facilities pride themselves on the fact that they do not allow live captures but this is not one of them. Currently, Narnia and her pen mates do not have a facility to go to so they are sat in a small holding pen until it’s built. Some are to be sent to China whilst others will stay in Russia. All were torn from their parents.
So please don’t just be angry about SeaWorld. Be angry at captivity as a whole! Boycott it. Sign petitions. Protest. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Allow yourself to be angry because orca captivity is a barbaric atrocity and it ALL needs to end.
Please spread the word and keep all 52 captive orcas in your thoughts.
a four man anti poaching team is tasked with guarding the ol pejeta conservancy’s four remaining northern white rhinos. with only eight left, it is the world’s most endangered species. located in the laikipia district of kenya, ol pejeta conservancy is also the largest sanctuary for the black rhino. fewer than four thousand are estimated to remain.
the rise in asia’s middle class has meant that demand for rhino horn has soared, with prices on the black market exceeding that of gold and cocaine. with an increase in poaching in ol pejeta, the anti poaching team now provides twenty four hour armed protection for the rhinos, and has developed a close relationship with the animals.
poachers will track rhinos from helicopters, darting them from above and then hacking off the horn and part of the face with a chainsaw. the animals are often left to suffer and die. the rhinos seen here were found wandering in unimaginable pain, but with timely veterinary supervision remarkably survived. the rhino in the left of the fourth picture, however, had a four week old calf who, without his mother, subsequently died of dehydration.
to protect the rhinos and deter poachers, veterinarians will remove much of the animal’s horn. the rhino are anesthetized, and suffer no trauma. the horn is not like an elephant’s tusk, and will grow back in a few years.
Breaks my heart. Humans are such awful things.
These men are heroes and some of the best mankind has to offer
How do I join their cause
How do you keep poaching when there are only 8 left? Humans go too far.
Heartbreaking photo of baby rhino standing by its mother who was slaughtered by poachers.
I think my heart just broke.
That’s it. My heart is gone. It’s not even in my body anymore.
Yet another reason to use reusable shopping bags.