ECC Seblat

Nobody Likes the Chains Including Bona

Nobody likes to see elephants in chains. Especially baby Bona with Aswita her surrogate mother. As illustrated in one of my favorite photos I have taken over the last 6 years documenting the elephants of Sumatra. Sitting watching baby Bona at 2+ years old free to roam and frolic but often wondering why mother Aswita could not join her. On this particular afternoon it dawned on Bona that the chains were holding Aswita back to roam free and frolic around the camp as Bona often would. So Bona started trying to paw at the chains to try to remove them from Aswita. It dawned on me as I sat there snapping photos and realizing what was happening. Here is a two year old elephant that has the presence of mind to see a problem and try to find a solution. I always new how incredibly intelligent elephants were from my experiences of hand raising Bona in the elephant camp but to see this playing out in front of me was an incredibly eye opening experience coming from a 2 year old elephant.

I know how the majority will react to this photo. Utter disbelief and outrage. Chains don’t belong on elephants. ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

So before you shoot off emotionally and burn me at the social media stake. Take a moment to understand. I am not promoting this act, just documenting it. Now from my six years of documenting and now working with the elephants in Sumatra I have actually created an avenue and a way to improve the lives of these camp elephants. We can remove the chains and even provide better daily care, the correct diet, opportunities for these elephants to socialize and even breed. So by all means breath fire if that is your initial reaction, but then take action as I am. Just commenting doesn’t solve anything. Act on those feelings too. All the info is in the links here or the link in the bio.

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TO SUPPORT OR DONATE FOLLOW THESE LINKS OR LINK IN BIO

Donate online > elephantsofsumatra.com
Support the many elephant projects > berdiri.org
Support the elephants of Sumatra documentary photography project > patreon/brucelevick

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Aerial View

Electric Fence / Breeding Program

This is the layout from the air for the electric fence and the grass plantations to be used for food stock for the elephants.

This is actually going to provide a number of solutions for the elephants of PLG Seblat. For those disagreeing with a breeding program, I truly believe you do not even know what you are disagreeing with. So please have an open mind and listen to these words or for further details see the link in the bio.

First off we are all in the same boat, we want what is best for these elephants and this solution is purely to improve their lives as priority number 1. Secondly if you disagree with this then you need to hear the other option. For 25 years these elephants have been wrapped in chains and every evening after their daily baths they are chained to trees in separate locations away from each other with no opportunity to socialize with their herd, to be free of chains and no opportunity if given the chance to breed. To continue with that unfortunate scenario is not an option in my opinion. So due to the circumstances of having to be in this elephant conservation camp (see link in bio for info or follow along here for more info) these elephants deserve a better quality of life and that is what this project will provide. Inside this enclosure every night they will be 1) FREE OF CHAINS. 2) BE ABLE TO SOCIALIZE AS A HERD. 3) HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BREED. 4) ULTIMATELY HAVE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE.

This is not a “forced” breeding program or harmful in any way and only serves to improve the lives of these elephants that are in this position through no fault of their own.

So for a critically endangered incredible animal such as the Sumatran elephant, a breeding program sits high on the priority, at least that is my perspective. How can you disagree considering the other option? Releasing them back into the wild is not an option as I know some of you will suggest. Not until we humans take responsibility for our actions. This is where it starts.

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TO SUPPORT OR DONATE FOLLOW THESE LINKS OR LINK IN BIO

Donate online > elephantsofsumatra.com
Support the many elephant projects > berdiri.org
Support the elephants of Sumatra documentary photography project > patreon/brucelevick

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Achievements

On location delivering elephant conservation projects in PLG Seblat, Bengkulu. Projects that are officially supported and signed off on in an MoU by the government of Indonesia. You cannot tell by this photo how many rejections it took to get to this position. How many meetings, the time taken to work through all the loopholes. How many years of working through the system just to get here. This is actually years in the making this photo. Me in my official NGO tee actually achieving things and implementing projects at many points I never thought would be possible. Working through the doubters, the haters and the trolls. I could have easily given up and just focused on my photography but that will always be there. Starting from scratch creating my own local NGO with my Indonesian wife to finding enough funds and working through the system and juggling both not knowing if success will come. That is a stressful position to be in and a definite swim against the tide. I am committed to doing my part for these precious animals. It is only a small part but step by step we can implement projects that will help turn things around for the elephants of Sumatra. I thank you all for following along to this point. It only gets better from here. X

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TO SUPPORT OR DONATE FOLLOW THESE LINKS OR LINK IN BIO

Donate online > elephantsofsumatra.com
Support the many elephant projects > berdiri.org
Support the elephants of Sumatra documentary photography project > patreon/brucelevick

Read more

Tranquil Elephant Camp

The elephant camp of PLG Seblat is just the most magical spot looking out over the Air Seblat river while listening to nature, the gibbons and the hornbills calls ringing out over the jungles of TWA Seblat Conservation Area.

This is the location of our current project building an electric fence for the camp elephants to give them a better quality of life and a chance to socialize and breed. In more than 25 years there has never been a new born in PLG Seblat and we intende to change that and you’re welcome to come along for the ride, any support is much appreciated.

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TO SUPPORT AND BUY PRINTS

shop for elephants > elephantsofsumatra.com

support the projects > berdiri.org

support this photography project > patreon/brucelevick

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Camouflage Camera Traps

Our attempts to camouflage camera traps were met with mixed results. Poachers and loggers have an appetite for destruction if they spot a camera.

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Burning Bridges

The patrol unit of the province of Bengkulu Sumatra in the TWA Seblat Conservation Area burn a makeshift bridge used by poachers and loggers to get access deep into the conservation area for the purpose of logging and poaching endangered species. This is unfortunately a very common occurrence.

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Remembering her 2nd Birthday

Remembering the days Bona turned 2. We made her a fruit “cake” in the shape of the two. She lapped it up in under 5 minutes.

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A beautiful View…

Breakfast time in the jungles of South Sumatra where the conservation center elephants collect their food on a daily basis after having their morning baths…

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Curiousity…

Bona in the early days was always curious on what her then surrogate mother Aswita was eating. Bona learnt a lot from Aswita on how to handle and break down palm leaves to munch on…

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The Elephant Patrols of Bengkulu

I’ve spent in total a number of weeks following the elephant patrols deep in the jungles in the province of Bengkulu documenting and also aiding the work with surveys and camera traps to document the wild populations inside the TWA Seblat Conservation Area. The patrols have evolved over the last few years as poaching and illegal logging becomes more effective so to do the patrols have to be more effective. The elephants are not often used as much anymore for the regular patrols being switched out for more effective motorbike patrols.

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