Support Asian Elephant Conservation with Holiday Gifts that Give Back

The holiday season is upon us! As you start your holiday shopping, consider giving a unique gift that gives back.

From notebooks and weekend totes to performance shirts and cozy blankets, our Elephant Store has the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Best of all, your purchase will directly support our work to protect endangered Asian elephants and their habitats.

Read on to get inspired with our 2020 holiday gift guide.

For the Wildlife Lover…

Symbolically adopt a wild Asian elephant with our Elephant Adoption Kit. Each animal available for adoption represents a real individual from the population in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka. Adopters receive a Certificate of Adoption, exclusive information and updates about the elephant, and the option to add an adorable plush. 

For the Student…

Whether students are back in school or participating in remote learning, they all need a notebook. The cover of this lined spiral notebook features a beautiful painting of an elephant in a forest. It’s perfect for class notes, and your student will feel inspired every time they look at it – especially if they are learning about wildlife or nature! 

For the Cute Baby…

Just like human babies, elephant calves are known to get a little dirty. This soft baby bodysuit features a picture of a muddy elephant calf with the words, “Rub my tummy and say you love me.” Does it get any cuter than that? 

For the Tech Lover…

A smartphone case is the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on your list. This case is available in various sizes to fit both iPhone and Galaxy models, and features a variety of colors and designs. 

For the Cozy Homebody…

2020 is the year of working from home. This means that formal office clothes have been pushed to the back of the closet and replaced with more comfortable options, like this french terry pullover – cozy and cute! 

For the Traveler…

Any traveler knows how useful a zippered pouch can be. It helps organize everything from electronics to toiletries. The Elephant Store also has tote bags, weekender bags, and even laundry bags for all travel needs.

For the Coffee Lover…

We all know that person who can’t get through the day without a cup of coffee…or three. You can’t go wrong with a mug! This coffee mug is printed with a Asian elephant alongside a philosophical quote, “I think…therefore I must exist.” The Elephant Store also has travel mugs for those always on the go. 

For the Fitness Junkie…

A muscle tank is versatile enough to be worn jogging, biking, or doing yoga. And let’s be real, a picture of an elephant makes any workout more enjoyable! 

Elephants are more than just cute and cuddly animals. They are ecosystem engineers and key players in our environment, with important roles like dispersing and fertilizing seeds and creating micro-habitats for smaller species like insects and amphibians. Needless to say, Asian elephants are definitely on the “nice list”! Help protect these endangered animals by shopping for gifts that give back

If you’re shopping for other gifts on Amazon, don’t forget to shop through Amazon Smile and designate us as your preferred charity to make a donation to our nonprofit organization at zero cost to you!  

Happy holidays from all of us at Trunks & Leaves! 

The Secret Life of Elephants

We have the pleasure of watching elephants in broad daylight in precious few places like Udawalawe, where they are habituated enough to be placid and tolerant of onlookers. Indeed, one can get rather spoiled in this particular Park, because even the birds are unafraid and will happily sit and pose for your clumsy photograph from inches away. At times, certain exhibitionist pachyderms even appear to put on a show for the gawking crowds:

But all is not paradise. Continue reading

Hyena girl meets elephant girl – A Chat for Skirts in Science

Some colleagues at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science have started a series featuring conversations by female scientists called Skirts in Science.  The goal is to make women in science more visible to students, especially young women and girls.

I had a lot of fun in this chat with Sarah Benson-Amram, now faculty at the University of Wyoming.  Here is a brief window into our work:

Many thanks to Paula Cushing, Kimberly Evans, and Marta Lindsay for inviting us to be part of this great series.  Check out their channel here.

Part 2 will have a discussion of how we came to do what we do. Stay tuned!

~ SdS

Dwarf elephant battles musth male!

16 June 2014 – S. de Silva

Battle1A clear sunny day, Lucy and Mickey are off in the park with Sameera while Kumara and I stay behind to catch up on office work. It’s mid-morning when Sameera calls to tell us Walawe Kota is back!  Walawe Kota is the nickname we’ve given the dwarf elephant of Uda Walawe.  This would be at least the third year now. What’s more, he’s in musth and reportedly fighting another male.  At first, the news is a bit confusing – there’s mention of a possible injury.

I’ve never seen him in the flesh though Kumara and Sameera have. I’ve only seen pictures and video clips, so I’m eager to try our luck. The park office reports he’s been spotted not far from the entrance, so we hop in our Jeep and dash off in hopes he’s still out in the open. Continue reading

An Evening With Elephants

Being A Better Scientist

I am trying out something new this month: I am hosting a fundraising event!

The event will take place on December 21st in San Francisco in the Randall Museum. We’ll show a BBC movie about elephants in Sri Lanka (trailer) and my friend Shermin de Silva will give a talk about her work with these same elephants.

Shermin de Silva

Shermin is an inspiring woman. She runs a field station in Sri Lanka, works in the United States (she is a postdoc in Fort Collins) and manages to raise enough money to keep her research going. This, as you can imagine, is not easy!

Her research is interesting, because she is one of few people who follows individual elephants in a wild Asian elephant population over time. Because she and her field crew know the individual elephants, they can see when elephant friendships form and break. It…

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Asian elephants distinguish the calls of feline predator species

In September, Vivek Thuppil and Dr. Richard G. Coss from UC Davis published a paper in the journal Biology Letters regarding wild Asian elephant behavior towards pre-recorded tiger and leopard growls while attempting to crop raid. They found out that elephants silently retreat from tiger growls, but aggressively vocalize their presence when confronted with leopard recordings. According to previous research, tigers tend to prey on elephant calves while leopards are essentially harmless. This study is the first to investigate the inner-workings of elephant antipredator behavior at night.

Direction in which elephants emerge from the forest to trigger playback (courtesy of Vivek Thuppil)

Continue reading