After nearly 2 years of shutdown, Bali's tourism has been devastated with sadly still no clear end in sight due to the surging covid cases across the country. The park has run out of funds and is now in a critical situation where they may no longer be able to continue to look after the herd.
In 1997 Nigel and Yanie Mason set out to rescue displaced elephants to give them a new home in Bali in response to the devastating situation in Sumatra where rampant deforestation and poaching have decimated the native elephant population.
Over the last 25 years the Sumatran elephant has lost more than 70% of its natural habitat and population, making it a critically endangered species as there are estimated to be less than 700 left in the wild and it's expected that they could become extinct in the jungles of Sumatra before 2030.
As a consequence, many wild elephants were taken and placed within camps where inadequate care and funding meant the average life expectancy for these majestic creatures would be less than 5 years.
The Mason Elephant Park is Bali’s only dedicated elephant rescue park and supports the island’s largest Sumatran elephant herd, giving them a safe and comfortable place to call home where visitors have the rare opportunity to have an up-close experience and learn about these gentle giants.
The park is now home to a beautiful and healthy herd of 30 Sumatran elephants, with 24 having been rescued from the Sumatran elephant camps with 6 babies born naturally in Bali. These elephants were entrusted to the Mason family to be their custodians by the Sumatran government, as sadly there is no wild to return them to in their native homelands. The park also supports over 150 local staff and their families from the surrounding villages.
It was the first elephant park in Asia to receive a gold accreditation from the Asian Captive Elephants Standards (ACES), an animal welfare organization that provides parks with the methodology to ensure elephants proper care through a rigorous assessment process, conducted by an experienced team of specialists, veterinarians, researchers, and conservationists.
Every day each elephant can eat up to 250kg of food, and every month alone costs $30,000 USD to feed a healthy herd of 30 elephants. This does not include staff wages to look after the elephants with their daily needs such as washing and cleaning up after them, constant fresh water, transporting and distributing the massive amounts of food, as well as nutritional supplements and proper veterinary care.
We need to be able to raise about $30,000 a month just to continue to look after the herd until Bali finally reopens again, which given the state of Indonesia, could be well into 2022 at best. Without being able to raise these funds, we're terrified that we'll start to see deaths in the irreplaceable herd.
Since 1997, the park has never asked for donations, as funds from visitors and the other business from the Mason family has always been the support needed to look after the herd. Nobody expected this pandemic to go on for as long as it has, with every bit of positive news from the government for a reopening met with another delay due to the pandemic.
With still no clear end in sight the park is now left with no choice but to reach out for help...