We sincerely appreciate your concern about the usage of actual funds raised.
The Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project (AEACP) is a 501(c)3 charity organization dedicated to saving the diminishing number of Asian Elephants left on our planet through our work with domesticated elephants. We were incorporated in Delaware in 1998 and received our 501c3 status in 2004. The AEACP promotes and sells the work of elephant artists as a way to raise funds for and increase public awareness of the plight of Asian Elephants.
Asian Elephants are critically endangered but differ from other endangered species in that a large number (1/3) of those remaining live in captivity. Now ideally we would like to see all elephants roam free across untouched wilderness but this is no longer a possible reality. There is little or no wild habitat left in many Southeast Asian countries and what little habitat does remain continues to shrink by the day, thus leading to problems of human-elephant conflict. The AEACP believes it is as important to protect wild populations and the elephants' remaining habitat and as it is to provide necessary care and protection for those living in captivity.
We strive to give as many elephants as we can, a happy, healthy, enriched existence. Money raised by the AEACP is used to provide captive elephants with better food, improved shelter, and proper veterinary care. Funds are also used to fund the further education of mahouts (elephant caretakers) in the humane treatment of elephants. We do not tolerate any abuse of the elephants either while painting or in everyday interaction.
From the sale of art and receipt of donation, we provide funds to the elephants' mahouts and/or to the camp or rescue centers where the elephants reside. This money is given under the strict condition that it be used to benefit the elephants in some way. We have in place proper-care contracts with each camp and maintain trusted liaisons at each location who oversee the proper distribution of funds. The various ways in which these funds are used is further explained below in the location by location breakdown.
Part of the money raised from the sale of a painting also goes toward completing the long-term initiatives explained below. In addition to such projects, funding received does also go toward maintaining the AEACP website presence and covering administrative and operating costs. The exact percentages vary depending on what we are capable of doing in a given year. The AEACP is funded primarily through the sale of the artwork, so more sales means more money can go toward the long-term initiatives. We consciously maintain a very streamlined operation in order to keep administrative costs down and to ensure that the maximum amount of money possible does actually benefit the elephants. Administrative costs are often looked down upon (sometimes with warranted suspicion) however it is a reality that for us to continue to provide for the elephants as we do, we have to be able to exist as an entity and some basic costs are unavoidable.
Aside from maintaining our website as a source of information and gallery space for the elephant camps that we represent, much of our time and energy is spent organizing actual museum and gallery exhibitions, as well as talks, lectures, and various fundraisers. To date, we have held auctions of elephant art at Christie's New York, museum shows at the Berkeley Museum of Art in California, the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia, and the Kawamura Museum of Art in Tokyo, Japan.
Lastly, we make a concerted effort to set ourselves apart from other organizations and companies by actively working to elevate the status of the artwork and bring the concept of elephant art to the masses, all the while providing necessary relief to the elephants in Asia.
We hope that this helps to provide you added insurance that your support does indeed help to make a difference. Thank you for your diligence and support in helping to save these majestic creatures from extinction.
Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project
IMMEDIATE USAGE OF AEACP FUNDS TO ELEPHANT LOCATIONS
FROM THE SALE OF ELEPHANT ARTWORK, TO DATE
KANDANG GKAJAH CAMP IN BOROBUDUR, CENTRAL JAVA, INDONESIA
MAESA & MAETAMANN ELEPHANT CAMP IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
ELEPHANTSTAY AT AYUTTHAYA ROYAL ELEPHANT KRAAL IN AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND
PHNOM TAMAO WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTER IN PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK, SUMATRA, INDONESIA
LARGER INITIATIVES FUNDED BY THE AEACP
(1) ELEPHANT RESCUE & ABANDONED WELL CLOSURE PROJECT
Sumatra maintains one of the few remaining natural habitats for Asian Elephants. There are only 400 wild elephants left on the island of Sumatra. This wild population is severely threatened due to continued illegal logging, the conversion of forest to farmland, and Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC).
One of the main projects currently being undertaken is the Elephant Rescue & Abandoned Well Closure Project. In the 1980's, the Indonesian Government translocated whole villages of people in order to make room for the National Park. In the Javan style, each home in these villages had its own well. Over the years, these abandoned wells, now overgrown with foliage, have proven to be a lethal obstacle for young elephants as many of the wells are spread across the migratory path of wild elephant herds.
Funds help support field teams to go out and fill in the abandoned wells. The teams will spend weeks out at a time in very primitive conditions. What makes their task exceptionally difficult is that the terrain consists of leech infested swampland and snake-filled high grass plains.
This grid represents 100x100m area. Blue dots represent wells that have been successfully filled. Unfortunately
this village was moved before satellite imaging so there is no complete map of
the area to work from, only general ideas of where the villages once existed.
The rescue of baby elephant trapped in well.
A rescued baby, Pepi, now happy and healthy.
Initial budget for this project including both well closure and elephant rescue was $57,872 USD. It is being funded by various individuals and organizations including the AEACP.
Once all the wells have been covered, the teams will be able to refocus their energy on the greater issues of habitat loss and HEC. We are honored to be working with this dedicated group in preserving what we can of the elephants' natural habitat as well as protecting the existing wild elephant population.
(2) MILLENNIUM ELEPHANT FOUNDATION
The Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF) in Kegalle, Sri Lanka is a brand new member camp of the AEACP. MEF takes in and cares for abused and injured elephants from the surrounding area.
The elephants are rehabilitated and when possible are returned to the wild or to one of the surrounding National Parks. If this is not possible or if it was a captive elephant to begin with, the elephant is maintained and cared for at MEF.
MEF has about six elephants on site. They receive regular veterinary care, are bathed twice a day and eat quite well, however because the Foundation is located near a village and does not have an adequate boundary fence, the elephants spend much of their time on chains. This is necessary so that the elephants do not damage property, hurt or kill any people, or injure themselves. Although a reality, it is a less than ideal existence.
After speaking with the owner of MEF, Sandith Samarasinghe, it was determined that an boundary fence around the perimeter of the grounds would allow the elephants significantly more time off chains and in turn more time to socialize with other elephants. This is a tangibly to improve the lives and general health of the elephants on site. As such, it was decided that the AEACP would assist in the fundraising of this important endeavor.
The perimeter of the property is approximately one kilometer long
Electric fencing costs $6,000 per kilometer. Control room equipment costs $8,000
Labor costs an additional $5000
Fence maintenance per year would be $2,000
Total cost of fence installation with one year of maintenance is $21,000 USD
(3) AYUTTHAYA ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Twelve years ago, founder and owner of the Ayutthaya Royal Elephant Kraal, Laithongrien Meepan, started bringing back elephants to their historical home. This was at a time of crisis in the country when elephants were being trucked into cities to beg on the streets for food and handouts from tourists. Initially his idea was to get a few elephants and mahouts off the street and give them easy, legal, and safe work. Today, more than one hundred and fifty elephants later, Laithongrien's vision continues to expand.
The need for additional land to give the elephants more space in which to roam free and to socialize is paramount. The plan is to create a type of elephant sanctuary with the purchase of nearby farmland.
The advantage of purchasing land in this area is that it is very close to the city centre of Ayutthaya, only about 2 kilometres. This means that the infrastructure that would be required is close at hand. The mahouts and their families, who are central to the welfare of the elephants, will have immediate access to schools, hospitals, etc. Also, the land is just across the river, easily accessible by a modern bridge, from the Royal Elephant Kraal and all the amenities that already exist there.
The goal is to purchase 500 rai (1 rai = .3953686 acre)
This would be enough land for about 200 elephants.
One rai costs approximately 700,000 baht ($20,790 USD)
So far 100 rai has been purchased.
The purchase of this new land will in part be done with funds raised by the AEACP. We are excited at making a significant improvement in the lives of so many elephants.
Still from The Trunk Show a film by Marimba Films. Photo by Andrew Bicknell