Posts Tagged ‘TIM GORSKI’

URGENT ISSUES: CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

WILD ANIMALS BELONG IN THE WILD

 

This is typical elephant behavior in the wild.  Notice the family size and their response, when the infant falls into the water hole.  Notice also the texture of the savanna and its suitability for the elephants' feet and weight.

 

 



CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS

 

 


CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS: WORKING ELEPHANTS

 

 

Each time you take an elephant ride as a tourist seeking an indigenous experience, your dollars are perpetuating the untold suffering of an elephant.

 

Elephants are are highly intelligent, highly social animals that exhibit human-like behaviors : they care for their young, they are protective of one another, they (famously) grieve for days over the bodies of their dead. They live in matriarchal communities in which the females stay together for life. They can roam up to 30 miles a day.  Moreover, they are essential to their ecosystems – among other things, their dung carries seeds which cultivate the flora in the savannahs. 


Tragically, these peaceful gentle giants (vegetarians) are treated barbarically by humans for exploitive purposes: They are cruelly taken captive, separated from their relatives, and "broken" by humans who work them unnaturally in logging camps, or use them as spectacles in parades, circuses or in tourist ride attractions. 

 

 

This is a bull hook, the instrument used (liberally) to "break" and manipulate elephants for use on safari rides, and for other forms of entertainment. Photo courtesy How I Became an Elephant 


See Also:

 

TIM GORSKI: AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER SPEAKS OUT FOR ELEPHANTS

 

WEBSITE: HOW I BECAME AN ELEPHANT


ELEPHANT VOICES


 

 


CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS: ZOOS AND CIRCUSES

 

ELEPHANTS ARE NOT ENTERTAINMENT.  

BOYCOTT ALL ANIMAL CIRCUSES:  NO EXCEPTIONS!

 

 

 

Most zoo conditions are inhumane environments for elephants.   Listen to this radio spot: it refers to pending decisions in the Auckland Zoo — but information is applicable to zoos in general

 


 

 

 

 

Worst, are the circuses, which often pull nursing calves away from their mothers, and use cruel methods to prepare them for their shows. Circus visitors have no idea of how these gentle animals are "trained" to perform for the big tent.  Do not patronize circuses that use animal acts.  A list of those circuses can be found in this link: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=425

Billie, the elephant, shown in the video above, has been consigned permanently to the Los Angeles Zoo, despite public efforts to have him moved to a sanctuary.

But there is still time to help other elephants in desperate need:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO 

 

HELP SEND QUEENIE TO THE PAWS SANCTUARY


TOP 10 REASONS TO FIGHT FOR ELEPHANTS IN ZOOS

 

THE TOP 10 WORST ZOOS FOR ELEPHANTS

 

 

TAKE ACTON TO HELP ALL ELEPHANTS NOW!  

 
 
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WILD ANIMALS BELONG IN THE WILD: CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

 

 

This is typical elephant behavior in the wild.  Notice the family size and their response, when the infant falls into the pond.  Notice also the texture of the savanna and its suitability for the elephants' feet and weight.

 

 


And a wonderful clip on elephant behavior from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

 

 

 

 

 

CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS

 

 

 


CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS: WORKING ELEPHANTS

 

 

Each time you take an elephant ride as a tourist seeking an indigenous experience, your dollars are perpetuating the untold suffering of an elephant.

 

Elephants are are highly intelligent, highly social animals that exhibit human-like behaviors : they care for their young, they are protective of one another, they (famously) grieve for days over the bodies of their dead. They live in matriarchal communities in which the females stay together for life. They can roam up to 30 miles a day.  Moreover, they are essential to their ecosystems – among other things, their dung carries seeds which cultivate the flora in the savannahs. 


Tragically, these peaceful gentle giants (vegetarians) are treated barbarically by humans for exploitive purposes: They are cruelly taken captive, separated from their relatives, and "broken" by humans who work them unnaturally in logging camps, or use them as spectacles in parades, circuses or in tourist ride attractions. 

 

 

This is a bull hook, the instrument used (liberally) to "break" and manipulate elephants for use on safari rides, and for other forms of entertainment. Photo courtesy How I Became an Elephant 


 

Award winning, environmental filmmaker Tim Gorski flew to Thailand with 14 year old activist Juliette West and her father, to make the documentary film, "How I Became An Elephant", which graphically describes how these animals are "tamed"  and trained to become the working animals we see in Asia.

 

FACEBOOK PAGE

 

WEBSITE: HOW I BECAME AN ELEPHANT

 

ELEPHANT VOICES

 


CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS: ZOOS AND CIRCUSES

 

ELEPHANTS ARE NOT ENTERTAINMENT.  

BOYCOTT ALL ANIMAL CIRCUSES:  NO EXCEPTIONS!

 

 

 

Most zoo conditions are inhumane environments for elephants.   Listen to this radio spot: it refers to pending decisions in the Auckland Zoo — but information is applicable to zoos in general

 

 


 

 

 

 

Worst, are the circuses, which often pull nursing calves away from their mothers, and use cruel methods to prepare them for their shows. Circus visitors have no idea of how these gentle animals are "trained" to perform for the big tent.  Do not patronize circuses that use animal acts.  A list of those circuses can be found in this link: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?more=1&p=425

Billie, the elephant, shown in the video above, has been consigned permanently to the Los Angeles Zoo, despite public efforts to have him moved to a sanctuary.

But there is still time to help other elephants in desperate need:

 

 

 

 

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SUPERSTAR HERO: 15 YEAR OLD ELEPHANT ACTIVIST, JULIETTE WEST

Friday, December 17th, 2010



 JULIETTE WEST

15 YEAR OLD ELEPHANT ACTIVST AND STAR OF

 “HOW I BECAME AN ELEPHANT”


 

 Everyone can make a difference –even small things can make a big difference.  

Just passing on a circus ticket will be a big help for the elephants.

 

 

Juliette West’s animal activist journey began at the tender age of eight, when she asked her family and friends to make donations to the local animal shelter in lieu of – – gifts for her birthday.  Little did she know that six years later, that path would lead her to a starring role in Tim Gorski’s documentary film, “How I Became An Elephant”, which screened to a rapt crowd of over 400 at the Hollywood Activist Film Festival at the Egyptian Theater on December 2, 2010.  

Without giving away  too much of the story, the film centers on Juliette’s quest to rescue a badly injured female elephant from a forced breeding camp in Thailand, and transport her to the famed Elephant Nature Park sanctuary, to live out her life in peace.   In Thailand, and in other parts of Asia, elephants are used extensively for work and entertainment, and most famously, appear once a year at an “Elephant Roundup”, a public display where they thrill the crowds with elaborate circus tricks and rides.  The manner in which the elephants are “tamed” for these spectacles is a large part of the story.  By the end of the film, we learn a lot about elephants, what life is like for captive elephants in Thailand – and just why it is so important that elephants remain free and wild.

 


 



Buy why elephants?  What led to Juliette’s passion for elephants? 

Billy the elephant at the LA Zoo was her first inspiration.  When she was 12, Juliette heard about the movement to retire Billy, the lone elephant resident of the Los Angeles Zoo elephant to the PAWS  (Performing Animal Welfare Society) sanctuary.  Billy was suffering from arthritis and foot disease due to the substandard enclosure in which he was kept.  He was also lonely and cramped in a small enclosure where he rocked back and forth in a rhythm called stereotypies which signals extreme mental distress.  Stereotypies is commonly seen in captive elephants– in zoos, and especially in circuses.  It is never seen in the wild where elephants live freely with their families and roam up to 20 miles per day.

Juliette began to educate herself on elephants – how they live in the wild, what they need to live successfully in captivity.  She wrote to City Council members and to friends on Billy’s behalf, asking for their support.    She went to visit the PAWS Sanctuary, as well as to the Oakland and Oregon Zoos to see the conditions in which the elephants lived.  These fateful trips led to important meetings: the first,  with Oregon Zoo Deputy Director, Mike Keele, a leading U.S. expert on Asian elephants; and the second, with film producer Michael Tobias, who was impressed with Juliette’s passion and determination.  Tobias called Tim Gorski, a documentary filmmaker and an outspoken animal advocate to meet Juliette.


 

Within months, Juliette found herself at the Annual Animal Rights Conference, taking place in Los Angeles.  There, she met Tim Gorski, who was speaking at the conference.  Gorski was looking for a way to bring his message about elephant conservation to a younger group of people.  Juliette proved to be the perfect spokesperson.

Juliette, in person, is articulate and self possessed far beyond her years.  She spoke with Action Now+Network about her role in the film, and the message she hopes we will take from it.

 

Action Now+Network:   What was the most challenging thing about making the film?

Juliette West: This was my first time on camera, and it was difficult – I had to learn how to relax in front of the camera.  I had to leave school for two weeks, when we went to Thailand, and it was an adjustment.

 

A.N.N: What do you hope this film will accomplish?

JW: I would like people to understand the history behind the safari tours and circuses –the elephants don’t just appear there willingly doing these awful stunts.  Elephants don’t normally balance on their head.    I want people to stop and think before they take an elephant ride – what had to happen to this wild elephant, to get it to perform or to carry someone on its back. How much beating did it take to become so submissive and lose its spirit?   I hope it (the film) will educate people about what is happening in Thailand –about how the elephants are “tamed” for the safari tours – about the abuse that occurs. 

When I went to the Elephant Nature Park, the sanctuary, it was heartbreaking to see some of the rescued and retired elephants there.  They had been so abused.   One elephant had a broken back.  The elephant we saved in the film had a broken hip from a forced breeding program. 

 


ANN:  What do you see yourself doing in the future?

JW: My hope is to become an activist in some way, an animal rights activist.  I’d like to open people’s eyes as to what is happening behind the scenes when they go to a circus – what their money is supporting.

 

ANN:  What is the one thing you’d like readers to know about your experience?

JW: I’d like people to know that everyone can make a difference – and that even small things can make a big difference.  Just passing on a circus ticket will be a big help for the elephants.

 

 


  

For more information on Juliette and “How I Became An Elephant”, see the following links:

How I Became An Elephant (website)

Palisadian Saves Elephant in Thailand 

Tim Gorski, Award Winning Filmmaker and Animal Protection Advocate Speaks Out For Elephants in His New film How I Became An Elephant 

How Juliette West Became An Elephant, Change.org


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PEOPLE TO WATCH: TIM GORSKI, AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER

Monday, December 6th, 2010

 

 

TIM GORSKI, AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER

AND ANIMAL PROTECTION ADVOCATE

SPEAKS OUT FOR ELEPHANTS

 

"HOW I BECAME AN ELEPHANT"


 

 “people just don’t think about it, when they see an elephant balancing on their head, rolling tree trunks to clear a forest,

or serving as a novelty attraction for tourist groups…  These animals are savagely abused in order to “break” them for the crowds”

 


YOU WILL NEVER VIEW ELEPHANTS IN THE SAME WAY AGAIN

 

If you have ever:

·        been on an elephant ride or trek as a tourist in Asia,

·        watched video of an elephant work camp (logging or forest clearing) ,

·        been to a parade or a circus which features elephants that are dancing, balancing on a body part, or spinning hula hoops,

you must not miss Tim Gorski’s powerful new film, How I Became An Elephant, screened in Los Angles on December 2 at the Artivist Film Festival.  You will never view elephants in the same way again.

How I Became An Elephant documents the compelling real life story of 14 year old Juliette West, in her quest to rescue a deeply injured female elephant from a forced breeding camp in Thailand, and take her to the Elephant Nature Park sanctuary to live out her days.   In the process, the viewer learns the horrific back story on the captive elephant trade—how these animals – one of the most complex, intelligent, gentle and highly social species on earth, are “broken” and trained to work and entertain.

 

 

A  “TAKE NO PRISONERS” ANIMAL ADVOCATE

Tim Gorski, an outspoken animal rights activist and seemingly fearless documentary filmmaker, is a man with a mission.  For more than fourteen years, he has traveled the globe, filming and volunteering in humanitarian, animal, and environmental projects, often at great risk to his own life.  He’s a new breed of documentary filmmaker with a “take no prisoners, tell it like it is” style.  More than once, he has exposed the dark underbelly of the hunted and captive animal world. 

 

 

 

 

After getting his MFA in Film from Miami University of Art and Design he worked both in film and television, taught production and animation at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and along the way, collected 14 Best Documentary Awards, two Best Cinematography Awards, and one Telly award.

Through his not-for-profit production company, Rattle The Cage Productions, Gorski turned his camera on subjects that few other filmmakers would touch: a sole captive orca living in a tiny Miami Seaquarium enclosure, forced to perform twice a day, seven days a week  (Slave to Entertainment);   a voyage with (then) little known Captain Paul Watson, on the controversial Sea Shepherd (Edge of the World).  Gorski’s films garnered award after award;  Edge of the World ultimately inspired Animal Planet’s Whale Wars.

 

 A PROMISE MADE

So, how did Gorski come to his passion for elephants?

It all began in 2004, on a fateful holiday on Kho Phi Phi, an island off the coast of  Phuket, Thailand, where he had hoped to spend time for a well needed rest. He had just finished his Masters degree, and was exhausted physically and emotionally.   As fate would have it, that holiday was not to happen. 

Within days of his arrival, he found himself fighting for his life, as the Tsunami devastated the beach resort, leaving more than half the population (2400) dead.  Gorski was one of the lucky ones who, against the odds, managed to survive.  Working with fellow survivors on the rescue effort, he met Lek Chailert, the famed Elephant Lady of Thailand, who has devoted her life to rescuing elephants from abusive working and performing environments.  She founded the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, as a sanctuary where these traumatized animals could live out their days in a peaceful, natural habitat. 

 

 

Lek offered Gorski refuge, educated him about the reality of the elephant trade and the extent to which these extraordinary animals are under siege by multiple groups that exploit, torture and kill them for financial gain.  Poaching cartels mutilate and kill them for their ivory;  logging and trekking companies, as well as circus and parade operators, typically tear nursing calves from their mothers, chain, cage and beat them in order to “break” them for human use.  Some, like the elephant rescued in the film, are used for forced breeding, and suffer broken ribs and ankles when offered repeatedly to the bull elephants.

 

 

“The fact is that people just don’t think about it, when they see an elephant balancing on their head, rolling tree trunks to clear a forest, or serving as a novelty attraction for tourist groups.  People just don’t think about what it takes to get a wild animal to do these things.  These animals are savagely abused in order to “break” them for the crowds.” 

 

 

 “When I left Thailand, I made a promise to Lek, that I would make a film about her elephants and her sanctuary. “

 

A PROMISE FULFILLED

In 2006 Gorski released The Elephant Lady, a short film about Lek, her rescue and rehabilitation of abused elephants, and her Elephant Nature Park.   This was Part I of the promise fulfilled, but he was not finished yet.

Flash forward to 2009.  Gorski was speaking at the annual Animal Rights National Conference, held in Los Angeles, California, where he met 13 year old animal activist, Juliette West.   Juliette had become passionate about elephants the year before, when she joined the advocacy effort to retire the lonely and injured Los Angeles Zoo resident, Billy the elephant to the PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) Sanctuary, where he could live out the rest of his days in peace and freedom. 

 

 

 

Gorski had been looking for a way to reach out to younger people, to let them know that they could make a difference with elephant rescue and conservation.   Juliette had the grace, the charm, the maturity, and the screen presence to become the star of his next film.   Shortly after meeting Juliette and her Dad, Gorski met up with them in Thailand where they met Lek, toured the Elephant Nature Park and began filming. 

 

 

The rest is history.   How I Became An Elephant screened in Los Angeles to a riveted crowd of four hundred.  A more compelling, heartwarming film experience would be hard to find. 

How I Became An Elephant is Part II of Gorski's promise fulfilled.   Lives are changed with each screening; and hopefully, the fate of the Asian elephants will be changed as well.

 

***************

 

How I Became An Elephant: Produced by Tim Gorski, Jorja Fox, Juliette West and Michael Tobias.   Directed by Tim Gorski.  Brilliantly edited by Synthian Sharp, whose work brings clear focus to the powerful truth of the film.

 This is a must see film for everyone who loves animals and especially for those who think they might at any time in the future, attend a circus, an elephant parade, take an elephant trek or endorse the use of elephants as working animals.

 

OTHER LINKS:

 

How I Became An Elephant (website)

Rattle The Cage Productions

The Elephant Nature Park

Juliette West, Superstar Hero

Palisidian Saves Elephant in Thailand 

 

FACTS ABOUT ELEPHANTS

 

FACT: Elephants are one of the most intelligent, sensitive, highly social species of land mammal on the planet.

FACT:  Elephants live in families led by a matriarch; the young bull elephants leave the family at the age of 12 or 13; the females stay together as a family unit for life.  They roam in the wild up to 30 miles per day.

FACT:  Elephants live up to 70 years.  Their gestation period is 22 months, and calves nurse for up to two years.

FACT: Elephants care for their young; if a calf is in distress the entire family will rush to touch and caress it.

FACT: Elephants grieve for days over the bodies of their dead.

FACT: Elephants cry, play, have incredible memories, and make joyful gestures to one another!

FACT: Elephants have greeting ceremonies when a friend that has been away for some time returns to the group.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND RESOURCES ON ELEPHANTS, SEE:

Elephant Voices

The African Elephant Conservation Trust

 


 

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