baby

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

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Wow How Bona Has Grown

Wow how Bona has grown!! What a difference 6 years makes for Bona. From mid 2012 when she was just a tiny little girl with no spirit and no energy to the gorgeous (and still naughty) big girl she has become today. Showing all her brothers and sisters who the real boss is. She is in incredible health these days enjoying her time floating around

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The Orphans

Remembering Agam. The precious orphan of Aceh despite the support never pulled through.

The orphans of the elepghants of Sumatra are unfortunately the result of the issues we as humans create. Elephants naturally travel in large herds and the infants will feed from the mother for sometimes up to two years or more prior to moving full time onto solid foods. A baby elephant will become separated and is (unfortunately often) orphaned for many reasons in Sumatra.

1. From falling into the many unused wells and unable to escape, the herd will move on leaving the baby with just pure luck of being found by locals and brought back to the nearest elephant conservation centers to be cared for.

2. Herds will often wander into nearby oil palm plantations. Elephants and any other wildlife for that matter are considered PESTS by the locals and often poisoned fruit is left for the elephants to consume and within a short period will die. In the case of infant elephants that are not yet on solid foods they will be left next to their non responsive family whaling for them to wake up. Again it is pure luck if these orphans are discovered and brought back to the nearest elephant conservation center.

3. Inside all protected forests on the island of Sumatra there are many battles to save all endangered species. Forest police and patrols alike carrying out surveys checking for illegal activity and often coming across snares that are left for tigers or sun bears. Sometimes these snares inadvertently capture baby elephants. Again it is the case where the family herd will move on if the baby cannot be released from such an awful trap. Again with any luck these babies are discovered and cared for by the nearest elephant conservation center.

It is hard to know how many orphans there are every year within the forests of Sumatra. We only know of the documented ones that are discovered by chance. Sometimes these stories have a happy ending and sometimes they do not. But we as humans must keep fighting and righting the wrongs that we have created.

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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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Ucok Handsome Boy

Ucok munches on grass for an afternoon snack. I love the shapes and composition of the closeup photos of elephants skillfully breaking down their food and warping their trunks to eat even the smallest of food items. He is a beautiful boy and has a great soul. Now he needs to increase his diet. Looking a little thin these days.

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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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Robi the Prince

Robi is the prince of PLG Seblat and the best candidate for the elephant breeding program . Here he is getting his morning bath before crossing the slightly swollen Air Seblat river.

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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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Strike a Pose

Mother and daughter strike the same pose. Standing on the banks of the Air Seblat River in north Bengkulu, Bona in the early days grew into a naughty personality as her health returned. She looks like she could be dreaming up my next 5am milk run or deciding if she is yet strong enough to take on the torrents of the river and follow Aswita across to gather food. None the less I really love this photo.

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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

#savetheelephants #elephants #elephantlove #elephantarmy

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Bona Feels the Love

Interesting story behind this photo and greeting from Bona to a new arrival.

THE BACK STORY: For an estimated 17 years two Sumatran elephants named Natasha and Dino would entertain the locals on the beach front of Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia. Taking kids and families for rides up and down the beach on most days. Until one evening a local man broke into their holding area and from all accounts began to antagonize the big boy Dino by playing with his nether region. Sorry my safest description. This did not end well for the local man and I am sure you can use your imagination to fill that gap.

THE RESULT: After this unfortunate event Natasha and Dino were ordered to be transported to the elephant conservation center 4 hours north of Bengkulu. They were transported in the evening hours and arrived at the camp late in the evening. I was at the camp upon their arrival still hand feeding Bona on a daily basis. I remember their arrival and the shrill sounds of panic coming from both Natasha and Dino in the middle of the night who only ever knew life among crowds living on the beach. Who had only had each other for company for 17 years. The wild pigs were not a familiar sight and would fill them with fear and elephants screaming is not a sound one can sleep on.

THE NEXT DAY: Upon the morning light Bona had decided to investigate the new arrivals focusing on Natasha Bona put on a confused show of dominance and love for Natasha, which was hilarious to view. Bona

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Big Girl Bona

While working on implementing the Breeding Program project in Seblat, Bengkulu it was nice to take some time out to see my baby girl Bona. I have been so busy in Sumatra so it has been a little while since catching up with Bona. She still remembers and still likes to remind me who the boss always is. It wouldn’t be Bona if she wasn’t still a little naughty.
Now Bona is a plump 700kg+ and in great health and truly getting big and as loud as ever trumpeting away at other family members if anyone annoys her or steps on her toes. Links and info below to follow and support my elephant projects.

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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

#elephants #elephantart #elephantlove #elephantarmy #pareonartist #creator #patreoncreator #patreon #photog #savetheelephants #patreonpage #patreonphotographer #documentaryphotography #elephantprint #elephantshirt #elephantsarecool #support #donations #needhelp

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Home Away from Home

On a two week rotation in the jungles of Sumatra. This is home away from home for elephant handlers and forest police working side by side in the Way Kambas National Park (camp Bungur) to help protect the precious habitat that is home to some of the most endangered species on the planet. Including of course the wild Sumatran elephant herds still calling the national park home. Daily patrols venture out to track illegal activity and locate wild elephant herds to make sure they do not enter into nearby villages. This is a crucial activity to help maintain any kind of harmony and prevent human/elephant conflict. For 2 weeks at a time this is called home until the next rotation of elephant handlers and forest polica arrive.

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The Way She Was

The first week with Bona she was a scary sight. She couldn’t have been more than a few weeks away from death in her state. She was literally lifeless, could hardly walk and had no spirit. Her spirit was certainly drained. Literally you could see every bone in her body as she struggled from A to B. After 6 months of sugar water provided by the locals as a supplement for milk I guess it was to be expected. Thankfully Bona took to our supplements, a mixture of baby milk formula, marsupial milk replacer (Wombaroo) combined with coconut milk hot water a dose of love and 7 months later of hand feeding this gorgeous girl the rewards are priceless and nothing will ever take away that prode of knowing my actions saved a this gorgeous girls life.

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