Chitwan National Park in Nepal recently announced plans to create additional enclosures to help keep elephants off of chains. This is exciting news for Nepal and the elephant community, but there is still work to be done.
The project to free elephants from chains is multi-faceted. Many mahouts are dependent on their elephants for their livelihood, and are reluctant to lose that income by allowing the elephants to roam free.
Living in chains can cause physical and psychological damage for elephants, specifically foot rot, arthritis, and a broken spirit. These majestic animals deserve better.
Many elephants are still considered to be “property,” and spend half their lives in chains.
However, Nepalese mahouts are now being trained to have a more positive relationship with their elephants; one of friendship and teamwork instead of ownership and property. While the traditional training and care of elephants was cruel and inhumane, mahouts are being taught a new method called Compassionate Elephant Care (CEC), which is spreading rapidly.
Watch what freedom looks like when these precious creatures are released from their chains.
Thanks to Elephant Aid International (EAI), many elephants born into chains are now able to live in chain-free corrals called hattisars. With the help of the Nepalese government EAI has built several hattisars in Chitwan National Park, and is planning on building more!
In these hattisars, the government cares for the elephants and uses them for important anti-poaching enforcement in the surrounding forests. No longer do they have to carry tourists and work all day in the scalding sun; instead, they have short work days, get proper nutrition, and are able to freely socialize with other elephants.