endangered

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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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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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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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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

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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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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’s short sharp charges were only met with love from Natasha who was lapping up a new friend and the attention and even showing natural maternal instincts towards baby Bona. It was something special to witness as Bona was trying to show the new arrival who the real boss was Natasha was loving having an instant baby to care for so it didn’t take long for Bona to give in and just feel the love.

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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

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

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More Bad News

More bad news coming out of the province of Bengkulu in South Sumatra. Two elephant carcasses were discovered recently by villagers fishing in and around the Seblat TWA conservation area. No reports as to cause of death yet but will wait to hear any news the local conservation agency is currently investigating.

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Feeding Bona (VIDEO)

Ah remembering those days of commitment to feeding the precious Bona 4 times a day. Always the lunch time feed was very interesting, trekking into the jungle and never knowing exactly where Bona was but always she ended up finding me if I called her as she knew I had her favourite meal…

Feeding Bona from Bruce Levick on Vimeo.

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Sadat

  • Name: Sadat
  • Born: 1964
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: The Elphant Conservation Center, Saree, Aceh Sumatra.

Sadat lives in the Elephant Conservation Center in Saree, Aceh, Sumatra. He came to the centre in 1989. He is now 50 years old and remains in the captive elephant program in the conservation centre.

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