elephant

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.

___________________________________________

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

Nelson of Seblat

Nelson the gentle giant and king of the land. Taking a morning stroll around the elephant conservation center overlooking the swollen Air Seblat River.

___________________________________________

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

Nelson the Beautiful

I think this will be one of my favorite shots of Nelson. The big boy and KING of PLG Seblat is the gentlest giant in Sumatra. How can you not but fall in love with these amazing animals.

___________________________________________

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

#donate #support #projects #conservation #animals #preciouscreatures #love #loveanimals #asianelephant #endangered #work #domore #needhelp #supportus #needyourhelp #fightforlife #wildanimals #saveelephants #elephant #elephantart #patreon #elephants_monson

Read more

Ucok Snack Time

It is afternoon snack time and Ucok is constantly trying to fill his quota for the day. The big boy is part of the elephant conservation center of PLG Seblat in Bengkulu and will hopefully play a big part in helping grow the population of this critically endangered amazing animal.

___________________________________________

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

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.

___________________________________________

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

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 “the back yard” of PLG Seblat. Hopefully to continue for many years to come and one day be a part of the breeding program to play her role in helping the amazing elephants of Sumatra.

___________________________________________

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

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.

___________________________________________

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

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

___________________________________________

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

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.

___________________________________________

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

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.

___________________________________________

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