Elephant Aid International nears completion of EleCam System

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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Elephant Aid International (EAI) is nearing the completion of a major project: the expansion of their current EleCam livestream system. Currently, the sanctuary only has two cameras, neither of which are positioned to capture videos of its residents anymore, since both elephants have been moved into a larger enclosure.

“This has been quite an involved process for our expansion,” EAI founder Carol Buckley told the Post-Searchlight. According to Buckley, the EleCam system had been planned from the beginning, and was originally supposed to be installed before the elephants were moved in. “It’s a way to view elephants unobtrusively as they go about their daily elephant lives.”

However, the main problem with the system was the internet connection, with the wifi connection being unreliable due to how remote the sanctuary is. The main cost for expanding the EleCam system is actually the installation of internet fiber optic cables, which will be run to the new cameras to provide a reliable connection.

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The fundraising for the camera system started in May, with one donor early on deciding to match each donation dollar for dollar. Currently, $22,625 of the necessary $30,000 has been raised. “It’s been a real slow fundraiser,” Buckley said.

The initial expansion will put in three additional cameras and the fiber optics; any cameras installed afterward will not cost as much, with the needed infrastructure now in place. With so much money already raised and the finish line in sight, preparations for the installation are already being made, the area for the cables being marked out and camera poles being installed this week.

“I always like to say how much we appreciate the enthusiasm and support from the community for what we’re doing,” Buckley said. She continued, saying the elephants have since settled in well to their habitat. “Tarra is a seasoned habitat user, and she was all over it,” she said. “Bo is still new to this life of freedom.” EAI does plan to take in new elephants, though they must build a new barn before they can accept any new arrivals; despite the barn having three stalls, Bo is so big he takes up two of them.

The sanctuary is still looking for volunteers to help out. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of any non-profit,” Buckley concluded. Anyone interested in volunteering with EAI can reach them at (229) 465-3115, or sign up at https://elephantaidinternational.org/support/volunteer-opportunities/. Donations for the cameras can be made at https://elephantaidinternational.org/elecam-expansion/.