February 2016

Supporting the care and conservation of elephants in Asian range countries.
Happy Valentine's Day!
EEHV Working Group
In 1995, Kumari, at 16 month-old Asian elephant died after a short illness at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.  Zoo pathologists, Drs. Richard Montali and Laura Richman, soon discovered that a previously unidentified herpesvirus, later called Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) was responsible.  

Zoo pathologists, veterinarians, researchers, zoos and private owners have all come together to investigate the transmission and epidemiology, develop better treatments, and create a possible vaccine to save elephants from this too often fatal disease.  As in any instance when a totally unknown disease is first identified, many initial assumptions were suggested and proved to be dead ends.  The disease has nothing to do with Asian and African elephants being housed together, or transported. This is not a disease found only in Western institutions.  It is a natural herpesvirus of elephants, and is most likely found in all elephants.  (Most species, including humans, have herpesviruses associated with them that have evolved over millions of years to co-exist with their host.)  In fact, Asian Elephant Support has helped fund Dr. Arun Zachariah, professor and field veterinarian at the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science University, Southern India, who first confirmed instances of EEHV in wild populations.  He has become a resource for EEHV testing and information for elephant colleagues in other Southeast Asian countries.

The numbers to date are not only horrific but represent dashed hopes for the life of a new calf and broken hearts among their caregivers.  

These are confirmed numbers:
North America (back to about 1980): 34 cases, 10 survivors, 24 fatalities = 71% fatality rate.
Europe: 25 deaths from EEHV of 43 total deaths, so 60% of all Asian calf deaths – the largest single cause of death of elephants born in Europe since 1995.
Asian Range Countries: In human care: 74 cases documented, 7 survivors, 67 fatalities = 90% fatality rate.  In the wild, 12 fatal cases documented.  The actual numbers are probably much higher as testing is just starting up; many more cases are suspected but haven’t been tested yet.  Also, the cases in the wild are usually missed because no one is there to see it and collect samples, although Dr. Zachariah has shown that it is possible to follow wild elephant herds and conduct field necropsies.

There is some amazing talent and experience at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, John Hopkins University, and Baylor College of Medicine – to name a few – that are dedicated to saving today’s elephants that become victims of EEHV.  In addition, many of the zoos and private owners are fervent supporters of this research and good science.  We applaud and appreciate their efforts on behalf of all Asian elephants.

As we are Asian Elephant Support, our next newsletter will focus on EEHV in Asian range countries.  We will look more closely at the work that needs to be done: the laboratory requirements and training needs that so desperately beg for attention and support.  Please be sure to look for how AES plans to give assistance and, as always, it is with our thanks for your support that we are able to do this work.


BECT Update from Sri Lanka

The Biodiversity Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) in Sri Lanka is a non-profit NGO that focuses on studying elephants and teaching school children about human-elephant conflict (HEC).  AES has been funding their school programs for a few years now and we are happy to hear from Mr. Jayantha Jayewardene that their 2016 curriculum was a success.  45 schools participated in their School Awareness Programs over 6 districts throughout the island.  An average of 151 pupils and 9 teachers were in attendance.  The programs are specifically located in rural areas so that children can be made aware of the difficulties surrounding HEC and how they can help their communities mitigate the issues of coexisting with elephants.  Elephant biology, ecology, and religious symbolism are all taught in the half day course at each school.  Being able to empower the next generation with knowledge and respect for elephants will certainly make sure that their survival in the limited space within Sri Lanka is guaranteed.  We at AES look forward to our continued work with Mr. Jayewardene and the BECT.  


BHUTAN: Human/Elephant Conflict Mitigation Workshops

HEC in Bhutan has become an increasing problem, especially around the perimeter of the Royal Manas National Park (RMNP).  Mr. Yeshy Wangdi is a forestry official from the area and has conducted several HEC awareness programs in nearby schools over the years.  This past year the classes were held at two local schools within the RMNP buffer zone.  The goal is for students to learn the natural history, biology, and ultimately the cultural value of elephants within their society.  The hope is for these children to go on and teach their relatives and other community members about the importance of saving elephants within their country and how to coexist peacefully.  The program consisted of a PowerPoint presentation, a role-play enactment of elephant conflict, prizes, and a Q&A session.  After following up with the students, Mr. Wangdi found and overall 75% increase in positive attitude towards elephants from the kids.  We’d call that a success!  


Spring is just around the corner. Soon you'll be outdoors enjoying the warmth of the sun and the longer days. Until then, you've much work to do!

You could use these last few days of winter to get a jump on your spring clearing. Clear out the clothes, toys, and whatnots sitting around cluttering up your space. But, it's still too burr-chilly-cold for a yard sale... so, what about having an online sale with eBay?  You could utilize their Giving Works program and help elephants too!

In case you are not familiar with eBay's Giving Works, it’s simple and easy use. Just set-up your auctions to donate a percentage of the sale price to your favorite charity (AES!).  eBay keeps track of your donations and sends you a comprehensive statement for tax purposes - and who doesn't want tax deductions!

It may seem like you are donating pennies from your auctions, but pennies add up to dollars, and those dollars purchase antibiotics, saline solution, tranquilizers, pain-relievers, syringes, needles, rubber gloves, bandages, ointments, scalpels, milk formulas, hay, straw, hoof knives.  The list is almost (!) endless.

Take a look around your home. There is space there, just waiting to be found. Every little bit does help, it does make a difference, help yourself and help the elephants!  

7th Annual CPK Fundraiser

It’s getting close to that time of year again for our annual California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) FUNdraiser.  How does something as simple as eating pizza and having a few drinks sound?  A nice dinner out could help support the conservation and care of Asian elephants in range countries, where 20% of your dinner bill goes directly towards AES projects.
Our goal is to spoil elephants rotten in range countries, but this year we are adding a twist and spoiling our volunteers rotten too! This year we are holding a “Host with the Most” competition; locations with the highest grossing in store purchases and donations towards AES will receive a prize and bragging rights. This year’s prizes are gift baskets put together by elephant professionals and enthusiasts to make it extra special just for you.
AES is currently looking for volunteers to host our 7th annual CPK from April 24th -28th. It’s easy and we do most of the work for you. All we need you to do is find a local CPK near you, hand out flyers, and bring friends to enjoy pizza and drinks!
Currently we have locations in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. As the weeks continue you can follow our events on Facebook or the Asian Elephant Support website for more locations as flyers become available.
If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer or host at a local California Pizza Kitchen near you please contact us at . We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
Purchase an AES T-Shirt!
Proceeds from t-shirts sales will be used to fulfill our mission. 
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 “For in the end, we will conserve only what we love.
We will love only what we understand.

We will understand only what we are taught.” 
-Baba Dioum

AES Mission

  • Provide financial support for the care and conservation of elephants in Asian range countries that meet our criteria for care of captive elephants and for conservation of the species.
  • Increase awareness of the needs and future of the Asian elephant.
  • Increase awareness of the humane treatment of elephants living in captivity.
  • Provide educational opportunities to those persons who care for captive Asian elephants in range countries.
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11 cents from each Save Vanishing Species stamp helps stamp out extinction, by directly benefiting Wildlife Without Borders' Multinational Species Conservation Funds, giving rhinos, African and Asian elephants, marine turtles, great apes, and tigers the care and protection they need.
We  wish to extend a very sincere thank you to each donor who has voted their support with a financial gift. We value that confidence and will always do our best for the animals we all care for so deeply.

 Please visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook (Asian Elephant Support).  If you have questions, please  contact us.   We appreciate your support. Please consider a donation to help Asian elephants and those who care for them.

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