Elephants have been part of Kerala’s culture, to the extent that they’ve been in the past three decades. Many elephant owners and brokers have commercialized this cultural icon, leasing them out for money, as if they are commodities. Our daunting task is to remind the religious authorities that no religion promotes the exploitation of elephants in cultural and religious festivities. VFAES is launching workshops to sensitize key temples, train elephant handlers with positive reinforcement strategies, and empower the stakeholders with knowledge and tools to improve the welfare conditions as a first step to alleviating the suffering of elephants. VFAES’s ultimate goal is to create shackle free lives for elephants, while honoring and revering cultural traditions.
This project was possible because of the volunteer work of Steve Koyle, a renowned positive reinforcement trainer, and elephant foot care specialist. The handlers were keen on phase - 2, and obtaining a certificate, however, COVID prevented us from carrying forward this project in 2020 and 2021. Thanks to our amazingly generous donors who made this possible!