The Asian elephant is the only elephant that humans have been able to domesticate. The strongest and more powerful animal on earth, baby elephants must be removed by force from their family unit and trained through isolation, pain and fear to make them compliant. The representative at the Elephant Conservation and Care Center at Mathura, India said that three elephants usually died protecting their baby before it was captured. The elephants pictured here are placed in compatible groups to aid in their recovery at the Center. Poachers, habitat encroachment and owner mistreatment are constant challenges that every Asian elephant faces in India. Representatives at the center take owners who mistreat their elephants to court and are then given custody after proven abuse and neglect.

Elephants have been used for war, work and worship in India for thousands of years. For example, the Hindu deity Ganesha has an elephant head and is seen as the remover of obstacles. Beauty, gentleness and regal bearing have always been attributed to elephants. As the strongest and most powerful land animal, they receive significant attention wherever they go. More importantly, they provide a level of consciousness that humans always seek to accomplish.

Elephants hold love in a different way than most humans. Dedicated to family, community and possessing sophisticated communication skills, the herd thrives through cohesion. Crowds gather round and bounty and prosperity abound around elephants. Unfortunately tusks bring riches, but more importantly their dignity, innate wisdom and service to the whole move people deeply. Elephants are walking libraries and hold the ancient records similar to the sperm whales in the sea. There is much we can learn from them.

When we can stop thinking small, we become large in life and regal in our bearing. By following our grandest dream…our passion will grow. When we react from fear, pain and isolation, people feel diminished like a mistreated elephant. The challenge is to accept our greatness, draw upon the strength of community and provide a worthy service to everyone around us. When set backs happen, make the best of it like the elephants at the Conservation and Care Center.

Thinking small is a challenge put before every one of us. Many of us never fully realize the immense power from meaningful connection, enlightening communication and a loving community. What enriches people, elephants and in reality every living creature will automatically lead to success. Be like an elephant and take to time to play, interact with friends and family and exercise daily. A healthy lifestyle needs balance and consideration of all living creatures to not merely survive the changes sweeping across our planet at this time but thrive.

Learn more about India’s Conservation efforts with bears, elephants, leopards, reptiles and primates at

Eric Ehrke