Q&A with Jennifer McCausland, Director of Elephant Protection

How did the crisis with the captive elephants in Thailand come to your attention?

It was serendipity. I was discussing the needs of the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand with its CEO and she commented that there were also hundreds of starving elephants all over the country. After more questions and phone calls that day, the extent of the elephant crisis became obvious, as did the immediate solution: we had to raise funds to buy food and save these animals. We needed a champion for our campaign, and I knew that champion could only be Dr. Jane Goodall. Facilitated by Charlie Knowles, founder of Wildlife Conservation Network, Dr Goodall readily agreed to help.

That same day I called my friend and colleague, Wayne Pacelle., founder of the Center for a Humane Economy. As one of this era’s most successful animal advocates and having saved thousands of animals through his relentless advocacy for their welfare, he needed no convincing to partner in this effort.

How can we help the elephants?

Our success in the “Elephant Food Bank” campaign will rely on a team of devoted animal advocates working from a platform of leadership, strategy and organization support provided by the Center for a Humane Economy.

While I was optimistic that we could raise the funds, to move the animals out of their immediate circumstances, I also knew that the root cause of the reason the elephants are in this predicament is their total dependence on the tourist industry for their lives.

Tell us why feeding the elephants alone is insufficient to address the larger problem

Elephant riding, washing, begging in the streets has to be eliminated and replaced with non -harmful elephant and tourist centered activities. This a challenge that directly meets the mission of the Center for a Humane Economy — if animals are at the center of the tourism industry, their ethical treatment must be at the center of our thinking.

People see these images and they feel powerless to help.

As you look at the pictures of these tortured animals, starved and chained to a pole for over year, it’s impossible not to look away. But we can’t look away and we can’t be bystanders

And this is how you can help?

First, please donate to the Food Bank HERE.

Our goal is to establish a permanent site for elephant food and donations so that a crisis of this magnitude never occurs again, and the animal owners have a permanent food resource.

And then, when visiting Thailand, explore opportunities to enjoy elephants at ethical elephant sanctuaries.