Some time ago we received an e-mail from Nicole Pursley in Texas, where she writes: "Hi, my daughter and I watched the documentary "An Apology for Elephants", and learned about the bull hook used on these animals. We went to Scarborough fair in Waxahachie, Texas, today and saw these poor elephants giving rides. Thankfully because of the movie my daughter saw the bull hook and refused to ride because she did not want to support the abuse. I asked the man with the hook why it was needed and of course he denied the actual reasoning for it. He then processed to poke the elephant in its side saying "see, it doesn't hurt them". My six year old just started crying - it was just heartbreaking! With your cause being so successful, can you point me in the right direction to bring awareness to these elephants?"
The story touched me very much, and I immediately wrote back to Nicole thanking her for the kind words, giving her some advise in regard to who she could get in contact with locally, and asking her if we might publish her and her daughters story on ElephantVoices. Nicole and her daughter Ella had experienced the infamous Trunks & Humps - a circus company out of Texas - which represents another sad story about the treatment of elephants.
Ella and Parker working together for elephants
Nicole responded: "My daughter was so excited this morning when I read your email to her. We would absolutely love for you to post her story on ElephantVoices!! Ella (my daughter) wants to take a picture with her elephant collection, after school today. I will also send you a few other pictures of the elephants yesterday and let you pick which ones you believe can help them the most. Thanks so much again. Ella has been wanting to help for a while now and I just did not know where to begin. After what we saw yesterday I knew I just needed to start somewhere. I will send you the email later this afternoon!"
And when the photos came, Ella's mother wrote: "Ella picked her newest stuffed elephant Parker to join in her picture. She told me as soon as people hear what they are doing to these elephants, they will help her fight back to save them. She tells anyone that will listen about the ivory trade and how many elephants are killed each year because of it. We constantly look at your website and Facebook page to read updates about the elephants - good or bad. With you helping her get this story out it will encourage and inspire her to keep spreading the word!"
Every step toward better treatment of elephants is a victory
This story is about is a little girl deciding to do something when she sees something that she doesn't feel is right. The suffering of many elephants in captivity is enormous. Ella can help by telling others about the brutal disciplining and the tools used to keep these big, intelligent animals in line. She can help in many other ways also - some mentioned on the page What YOU can do here on ElephantVoices.
We see it as a victory every time a compassionate individual, young or old, writes to us feeling inspired to put efforts into trying to improve the situation for elephants. There are so many passionate voices out there - but many more are needed! And the voices of children are often the most powerful.
Awareness and public pressure are pushing those responsible for keeping elephants in captivity in the right direction. Some accept that they just cannot provide acceptable conditions and allow their elephants to move to a better home as long as that is an option.
Thank you Ella and Nicole for contacting us - continue to spread the word! I can see that Ella's friend Parker and his companions are having a good life - but there are so many elephants in captivity who don't! And certainly many without companions...