You are all amazing!! So far you have donated $71.410.91 towards Tamy’s Tomorrows. GSE won the first $1500 bonus prize, so with the $50K match, the total right now is $122,910.91
More amazing news: our matching donor has offered another $50K match to see if we can reach our goal!! That’s $100,000! So for those of you who were waiting to give until today, you are in luck – and so is Tamy. Just 8 hours to go.
The funds from this year’s Big Payback are dedicated towards building a male elephant habitat, which may seem like just another part of sanctuary, but it is so much more. Male elephants have a special place in my heart (Kat) because of how misunderstood and how mistreated they often are in captivity. While perceptions are beginning to evolve, male elephants are often overlooked or their needs denied because many people have not educated themselves to their specific care and treatment. Males have historically been negatively labeled as killers, aggressive, and loners, when that is not necessarily their truth. In reality, their defense mechanisms have to be much stronger because of how they have been treated in captivity. Their lives are often more harsh than those of females, though their depth of emotion is just as beautiful and complex.
The males I have met would never be referred to as “good” elephants by those who have cared for them. But when you sit quietly to get a sense of them, the softness is there under the surface, as well as the hurt. Many are never given a chance to show their vulnerable side, to demonstrate they can be amazing, to share who they really are. Male elephants rarely have the opportunity to let down their guard or feel safe enough to uncover their true selves.
My heart was absolutely stolen by the male elephants we met in South America. There was one who was charmingly mischievous, with a crooked smile, and soft face. Picturing how nurtured his playful side would be at sanctuary, I was absolutely smitten. Scott joked that he had just been replaced. The other was sullen, withdrawn, looking for engagement, but not knowing how to engage humans in a healthy way. The vision of sanctuary for him was one of reconnecting with nature and the version of himself he lost many decades ago. Witnessing them both at once was a perfect demonstration of the spectrum of individuality in elephants. Like humans, each elephant has a complicated inner life, unique experiences, and perhaps personal trauma that needs to be faced. You have seen that sanctuary provides elephants with many forms of healing and helps them to find their own freedom and move forward.
Please consider opening your heart to the true spirit of male elephants and creating a new life for them. Together we can help the world to see past their tough exterior to the loving soul within.