Monday, August 16, 2010

"E" is for Elephants

I can't remember when my fascination with Elephants began, it was that long ago.  I have always loved them, but I remember the first time I saw one up close and was lucky enough to ride one.

When I was in grade five at John McRae School in Guelph, Ontario, where I grew up, I was a Safety Patrol, or Crossing Guard  (I remember feeling so grown up then, lol).   All of us kids in the Daminato household were involved in the Patrols, and have won awards.  My older sister was a Captain, and I was a Lieutenant.  I had won a couple of  "Gold Belts".  There were some Guelph Police Officers that worked closely with us patrols back then.  They chose a group of gold belt winners every year and took them on a trip to our Nation's Capital, Ottawa.   On that trip we went to a Circus and that is where my first Elephant ride took place.  I couldn't believe the size and majesty of them, and was touched when I looked one right in the eye.  I was so happy.

As I grew up I started collecting anything with Elephants on them and went to see them whenever and wherever I could.  I watched programs and read books and magazine articles about them.  For my birthday, whenever I was hospitalized and for Christmas my friends and family always gave me Elephant stuff.  My user name for most on-line sites is Phanti because of my love for them.

That love has changed over the years.  In my early twenties I went to a circus and saw the way the handlers were treating them.  They were using sticks with sharp pokers on the end to have them move around and do their tricks.  I was so angered by their behaviour, and at the circus owners for condoning it, that from then on I never went to a circus unless it was to protest against the horrible treatment of the Elephants.  I began to be an activist for the humane care of these gentle giants.  I fostered an Elephant from an African Reserve that I named Ishtar from infancy to seven years old, they sent me pictures of him and footprints yearly so I could see how he was maturing and changing.  It was a wonderful experience.

Then I found out about "The Elephant Sanctuary" in Hohenwald, Tennessee.  It was founded in 1995 and they operate on 2,700 acres.  It is the "largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants".  It is a non-profit organization, and it costs $125,000 a year to take care of ONE elephant.  Their goal is to rescue 100 elephants in need.  Their website is incredible, it introduces you to every elephant in the family on the property, gives in-depth information about elephants, there is a gift shop and there is even an "ELECAM" where you can tune in and watch them any time day or night.  But the most important part of the site is how you can help them raise money to give their herd all that it needs to grow and stay healthy.  There are many different ways to do this, and if you are interested in learning more about these beautiful, gentle-eyed angels on earth, or helping them rescue more of them, take a look at their site.  You can find it at  They do great work there, and as a Phanti-lover, I ask you to make a pledge to these big, beautiful trunked beasts and help to rescue them from danger, and to bring them home.

1 comment:

TracyLynnP said...

Thanks for sharing that link Tracey, I will check it out. I also love & collect elephants..with their trunks in the air. I was told long ago that was good luck.
I also quit going to the circus after I witnessed the cruel abuse these amazing animals endure.