There are approximately 18,000 working elephants in Asia. Elephant training is an ancient practice and some of the training methods used today are thousands of years old. Sadly, these practices are often overly harsh and involve the use of severe punishment. Elephants, highly intelligent and sensitive, can become aggressive when treated badly and because of this many elephant trainers die each year. In the developing world the loss of a family member can be financially as well as emotionally devastating - it is estimated that in some rural areas up to twenty people rely on the income of one elephant trainer. But there is hope. With the implementation of some relatively simple evidence-based training practices the lives of both the elephants and the trainers can be turned around. The elephants can live without fear or suffering and work safely alongside humans. In order to help the elephants and implement humane training programs HELP sends skilled trainers to Asia to work with local trainers. Our pilot program in Nepal is highly successful and we are now establishing programs in India as well. In the future we hope to have programs running in Laos and also Indonesia.
HELP is run by volunteers - our trainers and administrators donate their time in order to improve the welfare of working elephants. All donations to HELP contribute to the cost of putting our trainers out into the field. If you would like to understand more about HELP's mission and the work that we do please watch the following short clip, however sensitive viewers should note that some of the images can be very disturbing.
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." Helen Keller