November 2016

Supporting the care and conservation of elephants in Asian range countries
Enduring the Dry Season in
Way Kambas National Park 

Indonesia, August 2016

The month of August brought with it increased temperatures, dried grassland, and big challenges for the Way Kambas National Park (WKNP) Elephant Response Units (ERUs). The dry season gave rise to the illegal burning of alang-alang grasses and in this one month alone, the ERUs who call the park home reported 22 forest fires. These fires were believed to have been started by wildlife hunters to facilitate wild deer hunts mainly in the Bungur and Tegal Yoso, with the latter hit hardest.
Managing forest fires was not an anticipated task for the WKNP mahouts who have not been trained to fight fires. Due to the unpredictable need and lack of budget for firefighting equipment the ERUs rose to the challenge and worked feverishly using tree branches to help extinguish the fire. Water was also used from their water bottles to saturate surrounding areas in order to prevent the fires from spreading. The Bungur ERU found one case where an area of 2 hectares of grassland had been destroyed by fires. Tegal Yoso had the most prolific illegal burning within their patrol region reporting 21 cases. In 10 instances the grasslands were burnt 2-3 days previous to patrols. The remaining 11 cases the Tegal Yoso ERUs encountered were active fires which required immediate attention by mahouts to prevent further destruction of the park.
The three ERUs assigned to the park patrol a very large area that stretches over 125,261.3 hectares. On patrols they continually try to deter and prevent any illegal forest activities while monitoring and protecting wildlife. An enormous thank you goes to the ERU teams who rose to the difficult challenges they faced and put their safety secondary to protecting the biome and the inhabitants of the WKNP. Our donors also deserve many thanks for helping support the patrols the ERUs carryout. In the case of emergency situations, such as the ones the Way Kambas encountered in August, every donation is crucial to the future of the wildlife and forest protected by the ERUs.


From left:  President Linda Reifschneider, Secretary Vanessa Gagne,       Vice President April Yoder
This past October AES directors were lucky to spend the weekend in Oklahoma City at the 37th annual Elephant Managers Association conference.  Our pre-trip took us to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Hugo, OK.  Then at the conference we were able to catch up with keynote speaker Dr. Josh Plotnik, founder of Think Elephants International, and his wife Cherry Plotnik, a Thai elephant vet.  There was a wonderful array of presentations about training, vet care, enrichment, and of course, conservation.  Linda presented AES's latest projects and updates for the past year.  That Saturday we spent the day at the OKC Zoo where we learned more about their elephant program and got to see their beautiful barn and elephant yards.  The weekend ended with a post-trip to the Sedgwick County Zoo where a herd of the new Swaziland imports are settling in nicely.  All in all it was a fabulous time; the EMA is something we look forward to every year!

AES Directors visiting the elephants at the Endangered Ark Foundation


One of neatest things AES get involved with is helping Mahouts help their elephants. By sponsoring clinics with veterinarians, Mahouts bring their big buddies in for a free health check-up and learn how to better care and relate to them. It also gives the Mahouts the opportunity to network with their peers.
Recently at a clinic in Southern India, the host gave each Mahout a sturdy and practical gift: a day-bag. The quality of these bags and the embroidered workmanship of the AES logo is outstanding.
We now have a limit supply to offer as a thank you gift for a donation to AES. For the price of $55.00, AES will send you a lovely Mahout Day-Bag Kit; packed with an AES t-shirt of your choice, a set of 6 heartwarming picture-cards with matching envelopes, a hand carved wooden elephant from the same area, and a bumper sticker; an $80.00 value. For a donation of $25.00, AES will send you just the lovely Mahout Day-Bag.

Your donations are tax-deductible and (regular) shipping is included. Please contact us for expedited shipping cost.
This is a perfect time to get started on your Christmas shopping with a unique gift – and it has direct ties to Mahouts in Southern India. 
Order your Mahout Day-Bag!
Laos Mobile Elephant Clinic


Often nomadic, working in remote areas of isolated forest with access to veterinary medication and treatment often impossible, many captive elephants would suffer from horrific yet preventable conditions were it not for the veterinarians who make ‘house calls’.

In cooperation with the Lao National Animal Health Center, ElefantAsia implements free veterinary treatment for working elephants suffering from illness or injury via their Mobile Veterinary Units.  These vehicles are especially adapted for the treatment of elephants in remote logging sites, tourism centers, and villages where elephants are employed.  It also provides advice to mahouts on basic care and medicines.  

The Lao Elephant Care and Management Programme (LECMP) mobile veterinary units’ main project areas include Sayaboury, Luang Prabang, Champassak, and Vientiane provinces within the Lao PDR.  They carry out approximately 12 national field missions per annum with an additional 10 emergency missions within the same time frame.  Without the implementation of the Mobile Veterinary missions, many domesticated elephants, particularly those working in the logging industry, would suffer unnecessarily from treatable conditions such as abscesses, broken legs, and foot injuries.  Physical exhaustion and malnutrition are also issues of great concern.

A meeting is held on the first day of each LECMP mission to train the mahouts and elephant owners and give them information on specific subjects.  In 2013, the vet team offered a presentation on ‘tuberculosis in elephants and people’, to raise awareness about the zoonotic risk in the mahout community.  In 2015, the new registration system (ID cards) was introduced to the owners.  This year, several subjects of major interest will be discussed with mahouts such as ‘musth management and control to prevent accidents’ or ‘reproduction in elephants’.

In Laos, the elephant population is decreasing at an alarming rate, presently registering 10 deaths per 3 births each year.  Very few captive female elephants in Laos are still candidates for breeding and those not given the opportunity to breed early enough are likely to develop reproductive tract pathologies that limit their fertility.  To ensure the viability of the Lao elephant population, the young females need to be urgently involved in a breeding program.  The LECMP team raises awareness in the mahout community regarding the benefits of a breeding program and gives incentives to the owners to breed their elephants.  Furthermore, alternative opportunities to logging are discussed with the mahouts and mahout associations were created to make a transition towards good tourism for logging elephants.

Reading an elephant's microchip

In addition, the Veterinary Units also implement a micro-chipping and registration campaign with introduction of elephant ID cards to identify all domesticated elephants in Laos.  The ID cards summarize the elephant’s information (age, sex, owner information, breeding, and medical history) in order to strengthen capacity for a sustainable management of the Lao elephant populations.  The identification cards work to safeguard the remaining captive elephants in Laos, in particular juveniles under the age of three which cannot be micro-chipped and are highly valued by illegal traders.  It also reduces the risk of illegal capture and trade of wild populations.

Asian Elephant Support has helped fund various needs with ElefantAsia over the last several years and since the beginning of 2016, we are delighted to be able to offer financial support to this very much needed and worthwhile project that is managed and implemented very efficiently and effectively.  Our thanks to YOU, our donors, for helping us make a difference to the elephants of Laos.

Treating a bull with a large abscess
Elephant Transit Home Update
Sri Lanka

                                                      In transport 

This past July, four elephants were released from the Elephant Transit Home to the Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka.  The plan is to release a total of nine elephants this year; the other five have yet to be released. They have been collared to monitor their progress and whereabouts as they integrate into their new home. Thank you, Mr. Vijitha Perera, for the update and we look forward to hearing more as other elephants are ready to be released!

                                               Loading the lorry
                                                After release 


Do you host a CPK event for us?  Are you going to attend one?  Then why not get some extra cash and buy a gift card?  AES also receives a kick back for your gift card. 

The gift card program runs November 1st, 2016 - December 17th, 2016 and with the purchase of a $100 gift Card in any denomination you will receive a $20 promo card.

Early Bird Special: Purchase a $100 gift card in any denomination from us between November 1st – November 23rd  you will receive an additional $10 promo card plus the $20 promo card as a special thank you from us here at CPK Redondo Beach.

Please use the following link to purchase the gift cards.

Benefits of Donating Your IRA Distributions to a Charity

 Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) have been permanently extended.  Individuals can donate up to $100,000 per year directly from a traditional or Roth IRA to qualifying charities.  This is attractive to some investors because QCDs can be used to satisfy required minimum distributions (RMDs) from an IRA without having the distribution included in their income.
A qualified charitable distribution may be made:
  • When the IRA holder is age 70 ½ or over
  • Directly from the IRA to a qualified charity
  • From a traditional or Roth IRA
 Qualified Charities
Generally, a qualified charity includes most public charities that are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions.  ASIAN ELEPHANT SUPPORT, a registered 501©(3) is such an eligible nonprofit organization.
Limitations on Distributions
Restrictions set on QCDs include the following:
  • $100,000 maximum per person per year
  • Distributions transferred to the charity no later than December 31st of the current year
  • Must be a direct IRA distribution from the IRA custodian or trustee to a qualified charity
  • Applicable only for traditional and Roth IRA distributions (excludes SEP and SIMPLE IRAs)
Making a QCD provides an opportunity to make a charitable contribution you might not otherwise have been able to make and/or receive potential tax benefits for charitable contributions that you are already making.  You should consult your tax and estate-planning attorney about your situation. 
Key Benefits
For those who give larger gifts – Deductibility limits do not apply to QCDs, which means the QCD can be made in addition to other charitable contributions that may be limited by the annual maximum deductible percentage of income or phase-outs of itemized deductions.
For those who don’t itemize deductions – If QCDs are used as the funding source for charitable donations, the donor will receive tax benefits when there otherwise would not have been one due to the use of the standard deduction.
For those who pay taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits Income for determining the taxation of Social Security benefits is lower than if the IRA holder had taken the RMD, potentially reducing this taxation.
For those whose income level subjects them to tax on Net Investment Income, or phase-out of personal exemptions or itemized deductions – A QCD made in lieu of an RMD will result in lower Adjusted Gross Income for the IRA holder, which may lessen the effect of this tax or applicable phase-outs.
Contact Scott Zarinelli at or (314) 638-4120 for more information on how to donate from your IRA or other investment accounts!
Perot Museum Outreach
This past September, Director and Secretary Vanessa Gagne presented to hundreds of school children across the US about Asian Elephant Support and Asian elephant conservation.  The Perot Museum of Science in downtown Dallas has a ScienceCast that allows for classrooms to engage with a speaker at a Career Cafe via video call in.  Vanessa talked about Asian elephant natural history, their status as an endangered species, and of course, how the school kids could help elephants!  She passed out a list of sustainable palm oil candy just in time for Halloween, along with AES logo coloring sheets for the younger classes.  The kids came up with excellent questions about elephants and were very interested in what they could do to help save the Asian elephant.  Vanessa looks forward to returning to the Perot Museum in the future for more elephant outreach.  

Vanessa in front of the museum's Columbian Mammoth specimen
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Proceeds from t-shirts sales will be used to fulfill our mission. 

Test Your 

Did you know that elephant toenails follow a general rule of thumb for numbering? Asian elephants have 5 in the front and 4 in the back while African elephants have 4 in the front and 3 in the back.  
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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.
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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.

“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
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.

We do not not solicit donations in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Utah.

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Asian Elephant Support · 4764 Brookton Way · St. Louis, MO 63128 · USA

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