BOOTS EASE MAMMOTH UNDERTAKING FOR TSUNAMI TUSK FORCE
Source: The Courier-Mail, page 8, 19 January 2006
By Glenis Green
EVEN for elephants, rebuilding the villages of tsunami-ravaged Banda Aceh is dangerous work.
So dangerous that an Australian support base of "wildlife warriors" was formed to care for the elephants' veterinary needs – including special elephant boots to prevent injury as they helped to clear some of the horrific damage.
The Wildlife Warriors were initiated by Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast and supported by local businesses and individuals.
Using conveyer-belt rubber from a Buderim business, the team made and supplied the boots for the domesticated forestry work elephants to wear as they dragged bodies from the mud and debris and cleared paths through the hazardous rubble. Zoo staffer Trevor Neucom made a prototype for a local animal with a sore foot, then adapted it in different sizes for the tsunami team. Mr Neucom said the boots were attached to the elephants' ankles with a D-link chain.
Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd yesterday recognised their local supporters against the fitting backdrop of Australia Zoo's own Asiatic elephants Sabu , Siam and Bimbo.
WWW Executive Manager Michael Hornby said while the world gave millions for the people devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, modern technology had proved ineffective in the clean-up.
Australia Zoo Senior Veterinarian Jon Hanger said the Wildlife Warriors administered humanitarian aid and helped the elephants and other tsunami-affected wildlife.