The management at Tiger Tops has recently spent four days with Carol Buckley, Founder and CEO of Elephant Aid International (www.elephantaidinternational.org) and her interns from around the world at Tiger Tops Elephant Camp to create, discuss, brainstorm, and learn. But first of all to make the measurements for the new elephant corrals, so that the elephants can become chain free as soon as possible. Here is a short account of what we have been up to.
Introducing the elephants
First things first: meeting the elephants, the main stakeholders of this new adventure. Carol Buckley and her interns; Trish London, practicing veterinarian from the US; Lena Qunenard, an aspiring elephant sanctuary owner from Switzerland; and Lauren Kate an elephant welfare activist and kindergarden teacher from Australia were introduced to each elephant and given a short briefing on their history, personality, mood, state of health etc. by Bhim, head of the Elephant Camp.
Envisioning the corrals
After a round of dhaal bhat, everyone went with renewed energy to see the area where the new corrals will be built. The approximately eleven acres of land offers a varied landscape for the elephants to enjoy with trees, open land, different types of flora, and a small valley with the possibility of creating wetland. And why not turn the old bungalow foundation into a pool for the elephants? Many ideas and visions came up during the walk.
First thing in the morning Carol and her interns went grass cutting with the Mahouts. We wanted them to experience what it would be like to be at Tiger Tops Elephant Camp as a guest, and to brainstorm with us how to make the best possible program for our guests, while always having the elephants’ best interest in mind. Many discussions and ideas came up during breakfast and breaks during the day, and we are convinced that together with Elephant Aid International we are creating a very unique elephant adventure!
Discussions with the Mahouts
The Mahouts are the most important people at Tiger Tops Elephant Camp – without their collaboration there will be no Elephant Camp. They will have to change their way of thinking and acting. Their lives will change a lot, as they learn new skills and become more involved with the guests. Therefore, convincing them about the new concept that Tiger Tops is creating is vital. Not surprisingly, they are a little concerned and scared, but luckily Carol has great understanding for their situation, and DB does a good job on translating the new ideas to the Mahouts.
On the last day of their visit to Tiger Tops, Carol Buckley and her interns took a good look at some of the elephants’ feet and they showed the Mahouts what to keep an extra eye on and how to care better for their elephants’ feet. The Mahouts were keen to learn and watched carefully what Carol was doing – and then gave it a try themselves.
Measuring the corrals
While Carol was busy taking care of the elephants’ feet, the Tiger Tops staff measured the corrals and drew a map, so that the calculations for materials could be done. As soon as possible the materials will be ordered and shipped, and the corrals will go up in no time!