Carol Buckley, June 2010I’ve only met her on two occasions so I’m not well qualified to answer my own question, but I have formed an opinion. She is one of the most dedicated, strait forward, intelligent people I’ve ever met! When you speak with her two things are immediately evident: She know! She cares! We spoke for a while about her life, her passion for elephants and her absolute love for her elephant, Tarra. Carol recently commented that:
"Tarra indeed is the first resident of the Sanctuary. I met her when she was one year old. Volunteered my time to care for her and then purchased her when she was 2 and a half. I founded the Sanctuary so that Tarra would have a safe and healthy place to live, especially important to me as I knew she would outlive me. Tarra is now 36. She is my mentor and the inspiration for the Sanctuary".
Carol recently founded International Elephant Aid, an organization focused on helping one elephant at a time, worldwide. Check out: www.internationalelephantaid.org and support her anyway you can. This lady is the real deal!
Traditional elephant handling and training is nothing short of brutal. Carol believes that elephants, like humans, learn better from positive re-enforcement than from negative re-enforcement. Gentle reader, if you want to know all about this topic go to google and type in phajaan, but before you go I’ll warn you it’s very hard to watch these video clips. This article is not about what’s wrong in society here or in other parts of the world, rather it’s about one woman who is making a difference.
At the Elephant Nature Park, Carol was busy training an elephant and more importantly teaching mahouts how to train elephants with positive re-enforcement. She used a long piece of straw commenting that a stick could be conceived as a weapon and the elephant could feel the tickle of the straw. Her other tools were simple gentle voice commands and bananas. The results were amazing!
No force, just gentle words and rewards
Success! The mahouts watch and sister elephant imitates.The next time I saw Carol at the ENP she was giving an elephant a pedicure. The elephant, had some problems with her feet. No force was used, again just gentle persuasion. Again, success. At one point the elephant decided she had had enough. Carol simply agreed and assured her patient they could finish the process another time.
The PedicureCarol was also present for the tree planting which I wrote about last week. See “Trees for Elephants”. She is definitely one who rolls up her sleeves and does whatever she can.
Planting trees in the rain
I shamelessly schemed to get a photograph of Antoinette, Carol and Lek together. You see Gentle Reader, as far as I’m concerned here are three women that young girls, and boys, around the world could use as role models. We agreed to do the photograph back at the Elephant Nature Park the day of the tree planting. By the time I managed to get all three of them to hold still for a minute, Carol had changed clothes. She caught a good humored teasing from both Antoinette and Lek for showing up in clean cloths It was a great moment!
Four great smiles!
My old mentor, Tony Corbell, will understand when I say that
for me this was better than photographing the Beattles!