Animal lovers in India are knitting sweaters for elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center located in Mathura, northern India. The wildly colored garments will help the rescued pachyderms, several of whom are handicapped, brave the region’s freezing cold winter weather.
Green Prophet has a soft spot for knitting and crochet, and the kindness of artisans who use their craft to put hats on refugees, to raise awareness about energy conservation, and stitch stuff for peace.
We’ve previously reported that the origins of knitting are placed somewhere in the Middle East. The craft spread to Europe via Mediterranean trade routes, then on to the Americas with European colonization. Some of the earliest examples of knitting have been found in Egypt: a tatty pair of Egyptian woolen socks estimated to be 1500 years old are on display in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. But before I forget, this story is about the elephant initiative.
The elephants in residence at the Mathura center were all rescued from previous lives of intense animal cruelty. Concerned about chilly temperatures adding stress and discomfit to the animals, a group of local villagers pulled out all the stops (along with crochet hooks and rainbow-hued yarn) to create enormous “pachyderm ponchos”.
Each sweater is crafted in a colorful, unique pattern based on crafter preference. It takes four weeks to finish one sweater. As of today, 21 Asian elephants living in the sanctuary are sporting giant sweaters to shield them from the cold.
“It is important to keep our elephants protected from the bitter cold during this extreme winter, as they are weak and vulnerable having suffered so much abuse making them susceptible to ailments such as pneumonia. The cold also aggravates their arthritis which is a common issue that our rescued elephants have to deal with,” Karthic Satyanarayan, Co-founder & CEO of Wildlife SOS said in a statement.
The elephants that call the center home are blind, disabled or on the mend. Most of them were rescued from trafficking, illegal captivity and cruel circuses. Suffering from a host of medical conditions including abscesses, foot and nail conditions, ophthalmological issues, and issues associated with malnutrition and old age, the animals are treated by a team of full-time veterinarians. The center also provides the residents with open spaces, top notch medical care, frequent baths, plentiful food and lots of love.
Can’t get to India to cast on your own sweater? Then make a donation that will go toward purchasing a blanket for a chilly elephant in need. To learn more about Wildlife SOS .and do your part to protect its elephant residents, visit the website (link here).