As an advocate for elephants, I see the happiness in the eyes of an elephant in a new life of freedom and sanctuary. In person on volunteer trips and thanks to social media.
Then are the heart wrenching tales of an elephant whose imprisoned, beaten, stolen from the wild, and ripped apart from their families. This is when elephant advocates around the world to join together to share the news of an elephant in need and social media erupts.
Through twitter, Facebook and Instagram, the story of these elephants is shared, and we hope the ending results in the rescue to a sanctuary and the end to their life of suffering.
With the release of the new Dumbo movie, I hope the desire to help elephants is ignited. Both the Disney version and the remake fail to tell the dark truth behind the tale.
Jumbo, the elephant was captured by hunters in Eritrea, where he was separated from his mother, who was killed for her tusk and hide as her baby watched.
Then, he caged and sedated with alcohol such as champagne and whiskey to keep him sedated. The poor baby was even fed biscuits soaked in alcohol.
There was no cooing from his mother for comfort and no singing birds. Just a lifetime of misery, torture and bearing the weight of those excited to ride him on his back.
The stories of such abuse and terror are the daily life of many elephants in captivity. Those who are rescued to sanctuaries go on to life the rest of their lives away from riding, beatings and chains. They are given a chance to truly be elephants.
Some though, wounds go untreated and life hangs on a delicate string of balance.
An elephant named Luna is one of such souls, she was rescued by Wildlife S.O.S at the end of last year. She had endured a lifetime of severe pain and her feet were so bad she had difficulty standing. The team who brought her to the elephant hospital knew this was the possibility of hospice care.
I remember seeing images of withheld of comfort, tied up so much so that even her tail was tethered, she was not given the ability to even swat a fly!
Over the past week, dear Luna has been deteriorating. She has been lying down and her caregiver has been with her around the clock. Feeding her watermelon and cucumbers, providing her with as much comfort as possible.
Is this fair for her? To only have been given a few months of freedom to now possibly be succumbing to the nightmare which was her life?
Elephants who pass on shortly after their rescue, know they are now at peace. They will no longer be in chains, beaten with the bull hook. Their tired bodies can finally rest.
I hope those who see the movie Dumbo, will see the possibility to spread awareness, to think twice before booking that day at a sanctuary where elephants are chained, and the dark truth is covered behind the thrill of riding.
Share your love for them and stop the exploitation.