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After visiting Cambodia in April, actress and filmmaker Ashley Bell has been working to raise awareness of the plight of elephants in captivity. She reached out to GreaterGood.org for assistance and the nonprofit created a Gift That Gives More so her fans and their Facebook followers could help build a sanctuary for bull elephants. The project met its fundraising goals of $45,000 in less than a month by mid-September.
Thoughout Asia, elephants in captivity live in miserable conditions. While many nonprofits work in Thailand and Cambodia to free these creatures, there are very few safe places to move bull elephants. Because of their size and potential for harmful interaction with humans, bull elephants need a place where they can roam safely and easily be kept out of crops or cultivated lands.
The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary was willing to take in bull elephants, but they needed to surround their park with proper fencing to keep them from nearby villages and fields. The project originally was beyond their fiscal resources but now will provide much needed local employment as well as a safer place for elephants.
GreaterGood featured this Gift That Gives More at The Animal Rescue Site and The Rainforest Site, which have a combined Facebook following of 3.3 million. Bell reached out to her fans through Twitter. The money raised also will help transport elephants to safety, said Elizabeth Baker, executive director of GreaterGood.org.
“It's amazing to see how quickly people from around the world responded to GreaterGood.org's efforts through The Rainforest Site and The Animal Rescue Site to help build the bull enclosure at Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary,” said Bell, who is currently directing and producing the documentary, Love & Bananas, about the plight of elephants in the region. “I'm thrilled that GreaterGood.org is helping us provide a home for rescued elephants, which will ultimately help save the species in that region.”
Initial payment already has been made to the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary. Workers began construction on the “bull elephant fencing” at the end of September. A GreaterGood team will visit the sanctuary in November to document their efforts and Bell plans to return to Cambodia next year to film elephant rescues.
Photo of Ashley Bell and friend courtesy of the actress.