Melbourne, Australia, 4 September 2020

Australian elephant welfare charity H-ELP has today launched a service to have elephants on Zoom video calls.

Zoom video calls have become the norm and the replacement for many face-to-face meetings during the coronavirus. Unfortunately, these calls can get a bit repetitious and tedious, so some farms in the US have started offering llamas, donkeys and goats on calls. There is no greater animal than the elephant though, the largest land-based animal on the planet, with an intelligence and personality to match. So the challenge for H-ELP was how to bring these magnificent gentle giants “home.”

H-ELP partnered with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Thailand, an organisation that has facilitated workshops for it. For $100 people can bring an elephant on their Zoom video call for ten minutes or for $200 they can get an additional 2-minute introduction and 3-4 minute question and answer session with a GTAEF expert. All elephants live at GTAEF and the donation will be split between H-ELP and GTAEF projects and the upkeep of the elephant you meet. It is sure to brighten up your meeting and be educational! Importantly, the funds will help the welfare of Asian elephants.

“The Asian elephant is already an endangered animal thanks to poaching and loss of habitat, but the drying up of funds to support domesticated elephants means there is a real risk many could starve or their parts end up in China for medicinal purposes. So this is a chance for us to raise funds to prevent that,” said Marlee Horobin, H-ELP Chair.

John Roberts at GTAEF notes, “in common with everyone else the sudden disappearance of tourism has affected not only the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation's ability to keep the elephants that live with us fit and healthy but also our ability to keep our welfare and conservation projects across South East Asia funded. When H-ELP came to us with the idea of Zooming into boardrooms across the world we jumped at the idea. We can share the fun of an elephant joining your meeting knowing that, in so doing, you are helping that elephant and many like her get through this crisis for a better life.”

This is hopefully just the beginning though. H-ELP is going to be looking at schools to give virtual tours and encounters too, livening up what has become a stay-at-home education of late.

The days and timings are fairly flexible and it is hoped not just Australian organisations participate but New Zealand and even the western seaboard of the USA such as San Francisco. Visit 'Shop to Support H-ELP' to invite your gentle giant participant!