SavingGanesh.org Serving the Elephants of Asia Winter/Spring 2018 Report
Fundraising Season SavingGanesh returned to America’s most popular yoga/ kirtan music festivals this past Summer, including the Bhakti & Shakti Festivals in So. Cal, and the Hanuman Festival in Boulder, CO. Our booths proved very popular with hand crafted items and branded SavingGanesh tanks and tees. We’ve also added a special version of a JoJu Land stuﬀed animal - an elephant doll, made in Russia, with small “passport” that includes info about the plight of the elephants. We also returned to the Burning Man event in Nevada with a popular “I Love Elephants” theme camp, including an elephant carousel that drew 1,000’s people. Details inside.
2018 Conservation Tours
Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, and Burma are on slate for this year. A col laboration in March with a prolific Swedish film producer is in March. Our Ele-Care program is for veterinarians that are volunteering t h e i r s k i l l s to w a r d e l e p h a n t s . Ka r n a t a k a ’s e l e p h a n t s w i l l b e surveyed in January and again in A p r i l . In Fe b r u a r y w e a r e collaborating with Burma conser vationists to sur vey their rapidly evolving world. Details of these tours is found at GeoWandering.com. and in this newsletter
New Happenings CITES Conference to be held in Sri Lanka in 2019. The world will gather in Sri Lanka to review policy on endangered species. This offers enormous opportunity — We continue to strategizing how to maximize this huge opportunity to bring the plight of Asia’s elephants to the world’s attention. ”Welcome to CITES 2019 - we have succeeded to meet the challenge, and our elephants are now safe in our parks and forestlands. We are privileged to host CITES —The World’s forum on endangered species!” SavingGanesh has a plan for how to make this statement true! Discussed later in this newsletter.
2,500 Logging Elephant Unemployed in Burma this is nearly 10% of remaining Asian elephants! There are 2500 newly unemployed log ging elephants in Burma unemployed because of new antilogging laws. What to do with them all? Human/elephant conflict is also growing. Burma is “the land of the elephants’ and while tourism has opened up, there is little to no elephant tourism options. Although the Rohingya crisis and genocide is gut wrenching, the elephants still need help and thus, we will continue our work. We are collaborating with local conservationists, an investor and the Vihara Collective to re-deploy the timber elephants on forest patrols. Tourists will walk alongside the elephants and pay for the privilege. The mahouts would be bareback riding, with radios, perhaps a ranger or security oﬃcial would join. Tourist fees would pay their salaries and elephant care expenses.
Film: “Elephants in Culture - Past and Present Our Tuk Tuk - Chasing Elephants: No, we will exit our Tuk Tuk as necessary and hop into a jeep for our adventures in the jungle. However, the Tuk Tuk is a cultural icon in Sri Lanka and what better way to give comfort to our interviewees as we discuss all things about Sri Lanka’s identity, culture and the challenges of conservation. How has the elephant shaped these people from the antiquity of Anuradhapura to today’s ever-westernizing Colombo. Our version of “Taxi Diaries” will include Sri Lanka’s leaders: the historians, politicians, wildlife veterinarians, rangers, conservationists, artisans and maybe even the hipster. They all have a perspective of the past; what are they envisioning for a successful future? Or, is a successful future in their cards? What do these folks think about the their country’s identity and the “progress” since the end of their civil war? Are they ready to lose their past identity for a successive one? To being de-coupled from nature? This paradisiacal island of lore, is changing - how can you improve upon paradise? Upon real life Pandora? Shooting for this film begins in mid-March 2018 and continues through all of April.
“Ele-Care “Veterinarians for Elephants” Enriching the Habitat of Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, and ridding the chains: Horrifically, the Minister of Wildlife recently announced that he will open the gate of world renown Pinnawala orphanage (actually a zoo) and provide free elephants to specific temples that request them. Elephants will now also be available for purchase by private individuals for $60,000. Irrespective of this, last year we set in motion a plan to improve and enrich the Pinnawala habitat, in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Director of Wildlife Health. We are funding the work of captive elephant expert, Carol Buckley, who will join us in the field, both at Pinnawala and elsewhere. We will be joining government veterinarians in the field, including Dr. Nehal (in Ampara) and Dr. Chanadana (Anuradhapura). This will serve to introduce the Ele-vet team to Sri Lanka's standard vet practices, while also acclimatization for work/living in Sri Lanka. We will also be traveling to sanctuaries, tourist facilities and temples as we survey the elephants, providing care as needed or allowed. We’ll collaborate with government veterinarians who will also give us access to medications and gear. We oﬀer cost-free space for wildlife oﬃcials, or VIPs, as they join our work as they're available. Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya has asked to join us and others will soon be informed about our Vet-care program.
Film Project — “The WaterWorks of Antiquity
and Sri Lanka’s Elephants”
Sri Lanka has one of the worlds oldest and respected tank and irrigation systems. Worthy of a National Geographic feature — but little known to the world, its undoing is marked by this month’s filling of the Moragahakanda dam and ongoing work with its irrigation infrastructure. While we are proposing actions to lesson the dam’s impact — we are proposing changes to the dam’s management to serve and reinforce a long established hydrologic regime. One must wonder why one of the longest established and successful ‘tank and irrigation’ systems is being undone and replumbed based upon the designs of Chinese engineers (while also being built by Chinese laborers). Ancient Irrigation Works of World Importance "It is possible, that in no other part of the world are there to be found within the same space the remains of so many works of irrigation which are, at the same time of such great antiquity, and of such vast magnitude, as in Ceylon. Probably no other country can exhibit works so numerous, and at the same time so ancient and extensive, within the same limited area, as this island” [Governor of British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the year 1855] "The stupendous ruins of the reservoirs are the proudest monuments which remain of the former greatness of the country... Excepting the exaggerated dimensions of Lake Moeris in Central Egypt and the mysterious 'basin of Al Aram”,… no similar constructions formed by any race, whether ancient or modern, exceed in colossal magnitude the stupendous tanks in Ceylon. [Sir Emerson Tennent (1843-1850), Colonial Secretary]
Actions/Campaigns in 2018 EleCare Veterinary Tour: Learning and traveling with acclaimed Sri Lankan vets, we will be bringing our skills to the privately owned elephants. Led by volunteer veterinarians from the West. Documentary Film: Elephants in Culture: Past & Present. A collaboration - CameraQ of Sweden ReWilding & Farmland Conversion - Read about our campaign elsewhere in this newsletter. Wind Activated Torch & the Sound Cannon - Developed by our crew; gifted to farmers for elephant deterrence. “Freeing the Captive Elephants” - The plight of Kerala’s and Sri Lanka’s captive elephants is being exposed/publicized. “WaterWorks of Antiquity and Sri Lanka's Elephants” - An ongoing documentary film. VideoBlogs: We operate like “Asian Elephant TV,” with 10,000’s views per week on Facebook. Special Tours - We bring community leaders into the field to witness the Plight of the Elephants. Filmmakers, Writers and Activists join us - Providing a platform for their own works of passion. Study Abroad and Internships: Multiple students and volunteers join us on a rotating basis. Technology Transfer - Rangers and veterinarians need technology and we gift it to them! Including many trap cameras, GoPros, lap tops, sponsored gatherings, and cash for gas to bring orphans to safe refuge. Study Abroad Program - For students, interns and researchers - college accreditation.
Conservation Activities/Successes ”Elephants of Paradise” Proves the Power of Documentary Film: In 1998 our Executive Director Philip Price was film assistant on “Elephants of Paradise.” The film resulted in documenting actual events around elephant translocations. It was an exciting film and indoctrinated Philip forever into loving Sri Lankan culture and its elephants. After reviewing the film, the Ministry radically shook up the wildlife department by hiring 6 additional veterinarians to replace the sole veterinarian that filled that role. Untold numbers of elephants lives have been saved in these past 20 years, and this proved the power of film in eﬀecting beneficial change. We are most grateful to producer/filmmaker Stefan Quinth of CameraQ, Sweden for his compassionate work in Sri Lanka and India. Price and Quinth are reuniting this February 2017 for yet new adventures, while making conservation and culture focused films.
TripAdvisor Ends Promotion of Elephant Rides Trip Advisor is a world leading and influential online tourist agency that books hotel rooms and recreational events. SavingGanesh participated in a campaign to stop TripAdvisor from promoting and booking elephant rides at worldwide locations. We published many stories and articles about the abuse of training and supporting these tourist elephants, while asking our followers to write directly to TripAdvisor. The tourism agency announced this year that they will stop promoting these tours - we are grateful for the responsiveness of our followers, and our cousin Asian elephant conservation groups.
Ringling Bros. Ends Elephant Shows Influence of SavingGanesh.org: Tour Executive Director Philip Price was invited by the Director of Wildlife Health to join a meeting between himself and three senior executives of Feld Corp (parent company of Ringling Bros.). Our Director said “you know that there is a steamroller of public opinion against Ringling Bros. use of elephants?” The chief executive and others heads were slumped low at the time, and the most senior executive said: “we are aware of that.” Interestingly, all three appeared “karmically injured” is how it can be best described. Within two weeks, they announced an end to such elephant exploitation. SavingGanesh.org’s influence continues to grow - we are a leading voice..combining science based approaches with conservation objectives.
Social Media: The Power of Public Pressure Social media is a huge force in influencing public opinion and government policy. SavingGanesh continues to build upon it’s large Facebook presence as one of it’s most popular pages for Asian Elephant conservation. Our posts, videos and pictures sometimes reach half a million people in one week! We average 10,000’s of weekly views, allowing us a huge voice in the cause of elephant conservation. Thank you for following!
Highlights from 2017 Field Season
The Most Rapid Decline of Megafauna
The highlight of our 2017 Winter field season included wildlife biologist Marija Minic, who anchored many of our video blogs about the biggest contemporary threats to wild and captive elephants. Her astute eye was a gift for our work throughout Sri Lanka. We worked closely with Dr. Nihal, the regional DWC veterinarian in Ampara. We discovered the plight of 100-150 elephants trapped in this rapidly urbanizing area, subsequently surviving only by raiding nearby paddy fields. We hired special trackers to travel into the Trincomalee District. “Trinco is near to the central hideout for the former Tamil Tiger terrorist group. It remains a no-mans land and little is known about wildlife in the region. Our season also took us to Southern India where we worked with local conservationists and handed out several of our “wind torch” elephant deterrence devices.
“Island of the Elephants”
is a feature length
documentary directed & produced by Philip Price, that will l o o k a t t h e h u g e i m p a c t s o f S r i L a n k a ’s r e ce n t developments, and its eﬀect upon wild elephants. Focus is upon the re-engineering of Sri Lanka’s hydrologic regime, as verses the wisdom of village elders which was passed down through 1000’s of years. Sri Lanka is world renown as having developed one of the most sophisticated reservoir tank, canal and delivery systems in human history. Yet, moder n day politicians and their hired Chinese collaborators think they can do better! All the while elephants are losing prime habitat, becoming homeless and may not be a viable in the wild within the decade. This could perhaps be the most rapid decline of megafauna in human history - and it goes unreported in world media. Meanwhile politicians and developers do fake census counts, write extravagant mitigation plans with absolutely no intention of following through, and elephant conservation funds given by the central government to various regions and their ministries never makes it to the elephants.
Faces and People of SavingGanesh.org
Sierra Stange, Historian, Yoga Leader
Scott Elnes, Filmmaker, Bend, Oregon
P Arun Prasad,
Filmmaker, Naturalist Cameraman, Logistics Karnataka State, India Coordinator, Bangalore, India
Cameraman, Logistics Coordinator, Sri Lanka
Dashiel Pare-Mayer, Filmmaker, Director of Technology, Bend, Oregon
Philip Price, Founder & Executive Director, Bend, Oregon
Shannon Rose, Veterinarian, EleVet volunteer
Briony Ruse, PhD,
Wildlife Biologist, Las Vegas, NV
wildlife Vet, Director
Sustainable Sciences, Australia
SavingGanesh’s EleCare project
Captive Elephants, Tourism and Tuberculosis Twe n t y p e r ce n t o f Ke r a l a 's captive elephants have tuberculosis. Yet places like the Guruvayur Temple do not test for it -- testing was done by an NGO. Pinnawala Orphanage in Sri Lanka, with the world's greatest number of captive elephants (91), also doesn't regularly test for it, yet the elephants are in very close proximity and even touched by visitors. India has the worst incidence of human TB in th world and the close contact of temple elephants with their mahouts and visitors risks transmission. Drug resistant TB is now prevalent and nearly half a million people per year are dying of this. If elephant TB wasn't an issue a few years ago.....it absolutely should be now! TB in India is now at "pandemic" levels. Yet, for political and economic reasons and the power of the temples, conversation about TB is stymied. The Indian government is failing the people and elephants, or more correctly, the Temples are failing their people. Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations should step in and demand that elephant tourism and temple parades be stopped. As if morality and abuse wasn't reason enough to stop elephant exploitation, It is now also a world health hazard! Interspecies transmission is not uncommon when humans are in ever closer proximity to wild animals, especially when hygienic conditions are not maintained. Transfer of HIV from primates to humans is an example, encephalitis as well. Fully one-half of all mastodon remains indicated tuberculosis and it's now widely accepted that this was the likely cause of their extinction. Humans, mahouts in particular, are in fact more likely to transmit TB to their charges, than the other way around. Many humans are unaware that they even have TB, and they are most likely to transmit it to their families and friends. TB risk is why, in 2010, the government outlawed the blessings of humans by elephants (by touching a person's head with its trunk). However, this is still done - as seen daily in Hampi, as one example. How serious is Tuberculosis? It's a top ten cause of death in India, and rapidly growing. Wild Animals Should Remain Wild! Karma can be cruel otherwise!â€Š
Public Outreach: Kerala, India:
Treating Captive Elephants with Dignity
We abhor the use of elephant in tourism and religious ceremonies, however, if Temples are to keep elephants, they must be required to treat them with dignity and semi-wild living conditions, similar to the Mysore Palace elephants in Karnataka, India. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT! As example, when not being used for events at the Mysore Temple, the elephants live in the forest near the East gate of Nagarhole National Park. The elephants return each evening to a small tributary of the Kabini River, where the mahouts gather them and ride them about 1 km to the feeding area at the East Gate. They return of their own volition because each of the three elephants is pampered. They are brought to the feeding area where each are tied to a hitching post. It's there that each elephant is fed nutritious grain, which is like candy to them. The mahout spends about 2 hours hand rolling "grain balls," which are banana leaf wrapped grain - perhaps 25 of them in total from the 5 gallon bucket of grain. Until all captive elephants are chain free or even “re-wilded" — we will do what we can to improve their living conditions. This may serve as a model for elephant husbandry for those Temples that insist upon continuing such exploitive festival activities, as well as in Burma’s fledgling tourism businesses. Kerala's festivals - are largely the invention of businessmen who profit under the guise of religion. Ethical standards must be maintained for elephant treatment Burma as well, as they will assuredly begin large-scale elephant-based tourism businesses.
Re-Wilding Developed Lands: Rewilding (re-wild-ing) is a method for restoring and protecting natural habitats, especially high quality areas that currently serve lower value functions. Prime areas are those providing connectivity to public lands and parks. Reintroduction and/or sustaining keystone species within the habitat is our objective. Restoring connectivity between fragmented forests is beneficial. To be economically viable, jungle lodges or viewing areas with a small footprint are established. Such value-added tourist amenities serve as a model for further conversions by farmers and other individuals. SavingGanesh.org, in collaboration with recognized conservationists and media personalities, is proposing the purchase and re-wilding of farms and threatened lands, with the intention of building small, unobtrusive jungle lodges for wildlife viewing.
The Strategy: The internationally known Park of Wilpattu is a prime candidate. A developer there is putting up miles of walls and fences on land he doesn't own - which is fragmenting habitats, while protecting his “investments.” Our strategic approach is to have agreements with the DWC and local law enforcement whereupon they enforce the law, while our consortium oﬀers to purchase the property. This is a strategic two pronged approach - an enforcement action, with purchase option. Our strong relationship with senior DWC oﬃcials gives an insiders perspective on areas threatened by these types of developments. The blight of greed on the island can be mitigated and coveted habitats protected. We are building a list of interested conservationists and investors. Our prospectus is being written meeting the high standards expected by institutional investors.
Ornate Carriages Should Substitute for Live Elephants It’s Barbaric to Traumatize Elephant by Parading Them Replace elephants with inanimate sacred objects: Human qualities are very near to that of an elephant, this could be because an elephant's brain has the largest hippocampus of any land animal -- bigger even than humans. The hippocampus is the physical center of emotion. The ability to have and express empathy is often cited as one of the most "humane" characteristics of being human. By extension - does this make the elephant more human than a human? This is all the more reason why carrying Buddhist or Hindu relics on an elephant's back is so meaningful - it wouldn't be nearly the same on a horses back. However, a sacred object or ornate carriage can serve as a stand-in for a real elephant. Wheeled chariots or wheeled extravagantly crafted wooden elephants is a fine substitute and is sometimes used in processions in the West. Today's human world is fraught with war and conflict. Our world lacks EMPATHY. To many, their "empathetic self " is strengthened whenever they’re in the presence of a wild elephant. The same cannot be said for captive elephants - they are not nearly so powerful, as their spirits are broken and they are but a "shell." Many of us are disgusted by human's behavior toward the earth and toward each other - but find peace while in the presence of an elephant. Their matriarchal family groups (herds) are dominated by "feminine energy" which is by nature....empathetic and nurturing. It is powerful energy, whether manifest in a human or other animal. Humans need to be healed, and the elephants are our role model. Think about how you can manifest "elephant energy" in your own life. Please think about ways you can help preserve wild elephants and the habitats they live within.
Film: “Lost Tribes of Karnataka”
Arun Reddy, Naturalist & filmmaker
Arun Kumar, Videographer
Arun Reddy is a naturalist, adventure guide, photographer and new filmmaker who has periodically teamed with our Bangalore cameraman Arun Kumar, on a film production about remote tribes and their life in the wilds of Karnataka. Tribal members are wondering why elephant conflict is dramatically increasing, with over ten deaths last year within the surrounding villages. The tribes life has barely changed in millennia - but it has in subtle ways, from the color of their clothes, to the distance the children travel to school. Arun investigates and interviews: inquiring about how their attitudes about wildlife has changed - or has it, since the conflict has increased. What are their thoughts about the causes of conflict, and ideas about stopping it. Historically, there is a timeless flow to tribal life - has the modern world caught up to them and now the energy is dictated by outside influences. Is it possible to live in the modern world, yet coexist with the jungle?
The Gift of a Torch...The Flashlight Innovation: Wind Activation
The origin of the project: our crew often interviews farmers in many regions of Sri Lanka. While in the South we stayed into the evening with a farmer who has spent decades keeping elephants from his paddy field. We watched him string up a couple flashlights to nearby trees. Having never seen this before, we stayed the evening and were taken by the possibilities of enhancing this simple device (he had placed a torch into a 2 liter plastic bottle, suspending it by string from a branch.
The flashlight is perhaps the greatest nighttime deterrence a farmer can have against a crop-raiding elephant. SavingGanesh has manufactured a wind activated flashlight which, when hung from a branch or other support, mimics a farmer's actions and deters elephants from crop raiding. For our testing, we selected a farmer who we have collaborated on other projects over the last few years. He cultivates rice in a 5 acre field near to the Sigiriyia UNESCO heritage site. We’ve enhanced the device with a waterproof enclosure and a wind vane to catch subtle wind. Our device moves by the slightest draft off of the paddy field. In the darkness, it looks like a farmer flashing his light. With relatively poor eyesight, the elephants don’t know the difference. We brought our device to the North of Sri Lanka where there is major crop raiding on a nightly basis. Farmers there had never seen such a device. We w i l l b e m o n i t o r i n g i t s e f fi c a c y a n d c o n s i d e r enhancements with solar recharging capability and a photosensor
Film Production public outreach & social media
“Behind the Scenes” with SavingGanesh’s Crew: On slate is another season of videoblogs covering our various campaigns and outreach. Our “genre,” which is similar to reality tv, has proved to be popular and educational to our viewers. We have a unique model for saving elephants. We provide a platform for talented filmmakers, writers and scientists to join us with their own passion and talent. We often embed ourselves with the rangers and veterinarians of Sri Lanka's Department of Wildlife or veteran trackers and conservationists.
Public Action: Wildlife Impact of Moragahakanda Dam The Dam’s Gates closed last February - biggest wildlife impact in Sri Lankan history.
The Problem: The new Moragahankanda dam project will hugely impact wildlife throughout Central Sri Lanka. Loss of "The Gathering" at Minneriya is o n e r e s u l t . To m e e t t h e s e c h a l l e n g e s , SavingGanesh.org is proposing "10% for Wildlife." This portion of water, as well as funds from electricity sales must be used for country-wide restoration of wildlife habitat. This is an opportunity to deliver water to restored forest reservoir tanks. Elephants need a "water right" before one ounce of water is given to another paddy field. This is the only hope for offsetting the huge impacts from the lost recessional grasslands at Minneriya. Funding for restoration of forest "wildlife-only" tanks shall be provided by a share of electricity sales. There's a lot of ground to be made up due to the unmitigated impacts upon elephants from mega-development projects of the past 5 years. History: Current President, Maithripala Sirisena, is a staunch supporter of the Dam’s development, as he originated the idea while he was the Minister of Mahawwli Development. His career began when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Irrigation by Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994. In 1997 President Kumaratunga promoted him to the Cabinet, where he was appointed Minister of Mahaweli Development. He began important irrigation projects such as Moragahakanda, Kalu and Walawe rivers. Dam Lies and Propaganda: The government, the press, and even Wikipedia continue to report that the energy benefits of the hydroelectricity provided by the dam will be $2 billion per year. FACT: the installed 25MW generator running at full capacity 24/7 can only generate $11 million in annual income (even given generous wholesale energy value of .05 per kWh). At full capacity the entire hydropower output of Sri Lanka, from all dams, is currently about $81 million per year. Even the giant Hoover Dam in Arizona provides, at the most, $135 million in annual energy value. The $2 billion (US$) valuation has continued to be promoted in all the propaganda, while the true electricity value is many magnitudes less. Paddylands.Progaganda It’s often stated that the dam will provide irrigation water facilities to 81,422 ha in the Dry Zone. These dry zone areas are often used by elephants (Chenalands) and will now be totally unavailable to the elephants. Historically, these lands have been crucial for the survival of the elephants in the wild, as they come to those fields post-harvest and eat the leftovers. Being converted to year-round use, will likely result in them being permanently fenced off. In addition, several thousand new acres will be under cultivation. This year saw the government buying and storing record amounts of rice in order to subsidize farmers and rice prices. More rice will only add to this problem. Further, shouldn’t Sri Lanka try to move away from complete reliance upon its agrarian economy and look toward other industries and services, including tourism?
Sound Cannon elephant deterrence
Sri Lanka and Karnataka, Western Ghats SavingGanesh.org initiative
Te c h n o l o g y D e s c r i p t i o n , Purpose: This elephant deterrence device, consists of a plastic tube, simple spark ignitor, and an inlet for an aerosol spray. It is intended to replace the more dangerous firecrackers often provided by government officials to the farmers in both the Western Ghats of India and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the black powder is sometimes removed from the firecrackers and used in the fabrication of Hakka Pattas (small explosive devices) which poachers
Sound Cannons are becoming popular in law enforcement to disperse crowds. Why is this Beneficial to our Conservation Initiatives ? The Sound Cannon will replace the habitual use of firecrackers, which should only be used only in the most severe of c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Firecrackers should be a near-last line of defense, as over the longer term they have increased the elephant’s hatred toward humans.
use to kill small game. Elephants are often the collateral damage of the poachers’ hunt, as they unwittingly chew on the small back powder laden food ball, which will explode in their mouths. The result is a destroyed mouth cavity and eventual death by starvation or dehydration. History: Sound cannon systems are sometimes deployed at airports to sonically deter birds from residing in the paths of aircrafts. Our crew located a farmer a remote village near Bandipur National Park in India who has had success with this device. Design: Our sound cannon consists of 12 inches of 6” diameter PVC pipe, coupled to an 18” length of 1.5 inch diameter pipe (where the boom is generated. There is an igniter (bbq lighter) imbedded in the larger section of pipe which will ignite an aerosol vapor which is sprayed into the device. To generate, or build up the pressure, for the “boom,” requires that a temporary plug is emplaced near the end of the small pipe section. Usually just two pages of newspaper cupped over the end of the pipe is sufficient. The exploding vapor will burst through the paper, created a deep resonate sound. Similar devices are now popular as homebuilt as potato cannons.
Meet our Crew Philip Price, Executive Director Founder of SavingGanesh and owner of Geo-Wandering Tours. 30 year experienced geologist, environmental scientist, and adventure guide, specializing in documentary research, logistics and production. Background includes: Grand Canyon lead boatman and interpretive geologist, assistant to the producer/director on several documentaries; scientist and trip leader on scientific, adventure touring and filming expeditions, including Egypt, Alaska, Siberia, China, India and more. Technical skills include being awarded “innovative environmental technology of the year” by EPA and DoD, Project manager/principal investigator at the National Test Site in 1995/6. Founder of Sound Remedial Technologies, which invented and implemented soil and groundwater cleanup strategies and technologies throughout the world from 1995 to 2008, and full-time conservation activist and consultant since 2008.
Dashiel Pare-Mayer, Associate, Technology Expert Dashiel characterizes himself as a Visual Dreamer. He is leading new feature length documentary films in Sri Lanka about the plight of the elephants. He is originally from Napa, California. He is serving SavingGanesh.org in the capacity of creative direction, photography and filmmaking. After attending school for filmmaking, Dashiel took to a career in the tech industry with GoPro before heading back into photography, filmmaking and the wild places of the world. His interests include spending time in wild places with his wife and two children, and experiencing one to one connections with animals and creating art that moves people. His hope for SavingGanesh.org is that a few years from now we can look back and see measurable impact that we drove.
Scott Elnes, Film Producer & Host Scott is the narrator/host and assistant producer for SavingGanesh. He produces “reality tv” for us, which are near daily reports from our conservation and filmmaking endeavors in Sri Lanka and India. Scott is a self-proclaimed “Dork.” He originally hails from Seattle, Washington, but spent 5 years as the morning meteorologist at KTUU TV in Anchorage, Alaska where he was also the host of his own Outdoor Adventure Video blog. Scott moved to Bend, Oregon three years ago and never plans to leave. Scott currently runs his own video production company and serves as host for various shorts and video blogs for SavingGanesh.org.
Meet our Newest Crew Members Marija Minić, MSc is a first generation Canadian, with Serbian ancestral roots, who works researching desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in the Mojave Desert of the southwest U.S.A. When she is not chasing around these federally threatened chelonians, she is an avid world traveller and yoga teacher. Marija completed her Biodiversity and Conservation studies at the University of Leeds and has nearly 20 years conservation experience. SavingGanesh is honored to have her participation in our various elephant conservation campaigns. She is a keen observer of nature, and gifted writer. Watch for her articles and blogs this winter as a crew member of SavingGanesh - surveying the plight of the elephants from Sri Lanka, to India, to Burma.
Trish London began working with elephants 20 years ago at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee. In 2003 during vet school, she spent time in Thailand with The Elephant Department at Chiang Mai University. After graduating from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, she moved to Portland, OR and began practicing emergency and intensive care medicine at Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital. After leaving emergency medicine in 2015, she became certified in acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society, She has spent the last two years transitioning from small animal practice to her current work with elephants. In 2016 she began a 5 month journey traveling throughout Nepal, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. She focused her travels spending time with a number of elephant veterinarians and caretakers in the range countries expanding her knowledge of medical problems and therapies. She was exposed to the variety of problems and issues Asian elephants face.
Meet our Sri Lankan Crew Madawa Gamage, Logistic Coordinator, Cameraman Madawa is a precious gem to the SavingGanesh Organization. He has an uncanny ability to get us to the right places and the right time. He is a “doer,” making it all happen. Madawa is willing to put himself on the line filming over the shoulder of farmers - in the night, and only feet from marauding elephants. He’ll also be steps away from a ranger who may be about to dart tranquilize a dangerous elephant. For a decade, Madawa has been a cameraman for the leading film company in Sri Lanka, Vision Works. He is their number one man for camerawork and the equipment needed to make it all happen. His love for wildlife is what has brought him to SavingGanesh.org, and we are so grateful.
Scenes from the Field Season 2016/17
To p to b o t to m : P h i l i p Pr i c e demonstrating the Wind Torch in Karnataka, So India; Deborah Boyd on film; Marija Minic on film; Philip helping at the ropes.
Marija Minic on film in Sri Lanka; Philip in Ampara, Sri Lanka; Philip gifting wind torches in Karnataka, Madawa Gama ge giving directions to rangers.
Philip tying knots in Karnataka; washing an elephant at Lekâ€™s Elephant Nature Park in Thailand; and installing wind torches in India
May ’17 ShaktiFest in Joshua Tree. Ann Cook (L), Marija Minić and Philip Price (r)
June ’17: Hanuman Festival (Boulder, CO): Carly Rixham (l), Philip Price (c), Bekki Zalewski (r)
Sept ’17: Bhakti Festival (Joshua Tree, CA): Kait Frasier (cl), Sierra Stange (cr), Philip Price (r_
May ’17 ShaktiFest in Joshua Tree. Musician Eric Olson doing a Ganesh Asana
Recurring Conservation Tours SavingGanesh.org Sri Lankan Elephants
Wildlife, Culture & Yoga
Conservation Filmmaking Tour
Take Action for Elephants
recurring tours, from 16 to 30 days
Tour of Compassion
Our mission is to use the power of film to bring awareness to the plight of Sri Lankan Elephants. We produce our own videoblogs and documentary films, oftentimes collaborating with other production companies.
Elephants, Yoga & Conservation Recurring Tour Join our staff yoga teachers and Executive Director Philip Price in the enchanting landscape of Sri Lanka. Philip will guide you to the front lines of Asian elephant conservation & our accomplished yogis will assure you are “fully present” in heart, mind and spirit! A fully immersive experience!
Nearly 300 Elephants are dying each year. Only 4,000 of the species remain - extinction appears imminent. Take action - join our crew! We are like “Elephant TV,” we are always looking for cameramen, editors, on-screen personalities and wildlife experts.
Tour of Compassion, part 1 - This 10 day tour can be taken alone or in combination with our Thailand/Burma tours.
Tour Offerings to Sri Lanka
Tour of Compassion, part 2 - During this half of the Sri Lanka experience, we will periodically engage with the rangers and veterinarians of the Department of Wildlife as they conduct dart medication and periodic translocations of wild elephants.
Join Filmmaker/Conservationist Philip Price and his crew
Details: Our organization often supplies a supporting role - cameras, vehicles, logistics for various organizations. Our Executive Director has a twenty year history in this field. Participants will learn about conservation filmmaking. Like most of our tours, volunteer discounts are available, depending on experience and our needs. This is a tax deductible tour. Our prime mission is conservation filmmaking - public outreach and education. When not actively engaged in the primary film, we will be continuing our production of videoblogs for our social media sites. Cameramen, onscreen personalities and editors are desired. We often have 50,000 views per weeks through our media outlets.
A trip of a lifetime! Practice yoga or meditate each day, while visiting the best of wildlife & culture in Sri Lanka. Visits to national parks, beaches, and world heritage sites included as you join SavingGanesh on their seasonal conservation tour. Experience herds up close and observe wildlife officials in action. We will also continue our video-blog series (volunteers needed). SavingGanesh Organization is in partnership with Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife to save the endangered elephants of Sri Lanka. GeoWandering Tours has 25 years of experience producing tours of adventure and spirit. Tour leader Philip Price first arrived in Sri Lanka in 1998 as production assistant on the film “Elephants of Paradise.” This is a GeoWandering Tours production. All profits serve elephants thru SavingGanesh.org. Fee $140 per day; Limited scholarships available DOE. Details at GeoWandering.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
This is a GeoWandering Tours production on behalf of SavingGanesh.org cost $140 per day; limited scholarships available; contact email@example.com
Kerala and Karnataka,
Sri Lankan Elephants
Richest Wildlife, Ancient Civilizations Recurring Tour Flying into Trivandrum, we will visit the renown beach villages of Kerala, before going inland to India’s best wildlife parks. While Kerala is vibrant with human activity, Karnataka remains authentic and rich with the best wildlife of India, and the most elephants!
Our tour begins in Trivandrum, as we first travel to the religious pilgrimage village of Varkala, with it’s interesting traditions, yet with fun cliffside shops. Continuing north, we visit Alleppey Beach for a backwaters cruise, continuing northward to the historical tourist friendly village of Kochi. Next, not to be lulled into tourist bliss, we
South India Wildlife & Antiquity will visit the controversial Guruvayur Temple with its 59 chained elephants. This is where we are actively pursuing mercy for this collection of magnificent tuskers. We next turn inland toward the best parks of India a t M u d a m a l a i , B a n d i p u r, a n d Nagarhole. Kabini Reservoir arguably hosts the greatest annual congregation of wild elephants in the world. If we’re lucky we’ll arrive
Sri Lanka Ele-Care Tour “Veterinarians For Elephants”
Wildlife: 7,000 elephants live Ancient Hindu Temple, within the Nagarhole region, and our special accommodations allow us to stay in the heart of it. We typically have 100 or more sitings each evening of e l e p h a n t , m o n ke y, goar/bison, wild boar, sambar, spotted dear and more.
during their migration, while staying a night in an exclusive 5-star lakeside resort. We end our journey with a visit to Mysore and its extraordinary palace .
This is a GeoWandering.com production and all profits serve Asian Elephants thru SavingGanesh.org. cost is $140 per day; airfare not included limited scholarships available firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Save Endangered Elephants. Pinnawala Orphanage and its 90 elephants is our primary objective, as we collaborate with Carol Buckley and/or her associates (Elephant Aid International). Making Pinnawala Elephant “Orphanage” chain-free, while enriching the habitat. This is a multi-year initiative of SavingGanesh. Lead volunteer veterinarian, Trish London, and our crew will intersperse our work at Pinnawala with field work alongside the Department of Wildlife (DWC) veterinarians. We will also be surveying the living conditions for other captive elephants, as we proceed with our seasonal work - connecting with our network of farmers and villagers that live on the front lines of human/elephant conflict. Join us for the entire tour or ten days!
This is a “By Invite Only” project. We have space available for veterinarians and other qualified, or special guests & volunteers. Working with DWC vets in the field will help us learn about their challenges and techniques. Culture and Wildlife: As time and location allows, we will visit World Heritage Cultural Sites. Including: The Ancient City of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Kandy, Dambulla Rock Temple, and visits to Ayurveda herbal gardens. While being joined by noted elephant experts, we may also visit Yala National Park, Minneriya/Kaudulla National Parks. Our services will include surveying the condition of captive elephants.
Visit GeoWandering.com for information; cost $140 per day; scholarships for volunteers avail; contact email@example.com
‘I Love Elephants’ Theme Camp at Burning Man 2017 Event
Published on Nov 5, 2017
Published on Nov 5, 2017
We use the power of film and technology to bring awareness and provide solutions to the plight of the Asian elephants. We are Elephant Conse...