Spread love, joy and awareness this holiday season--and all seasons--with elephantea, the perfect stocking stuffer that blends compassion with conservation with every cup! elephantea is a groundbreaking range of premium tea products that's "ground shakingly good" for your tastebuds and for endangered Asian elephants.
For every elephantea purchase you make, a percentage of the profits fund Sri Lankan-based nonprofits dedicated to Asian elephant conservation.
The Roots of elephantea
elephantea was inspired by an anniversary trip given to its president, Shani Atapattu, and her husband, from her father Ron.
Ron, who comes from a long line of elephant activists and tea growers, was committed to passing on the preservation torch to his daughters. He invited Shani and her husband with him to Sri Lanka, immersing them in the culture and the varieties of native Ceylon tea grown throughout the country's verdant, rolling tea hills.
During the trip, they embarked on an educational adventure into the rain forests and jungle where wild elephant herds roam. It was there that Shani learned about the grim plight of elephants due to more than 100 years of hunting and loss of habitat. Approximately only 50,000 of them remain worldwide, and only a few thousand of those are left in Sri Lanka.
Upon their return to the United States, Shani was determined to start a business that would create awareness and positive change for the endangered elephants. Together with her father, they founded the socially-responsible tea company, donating a percentage of their profits to Sri Lankan-based nonprofit organizations, including Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, dedicated to raising awareness and saving elephants.
The Fruits of Your Compassion: #SipTeaSaveElephants
Through your purchases of elephantea, the company is able to fund SLWCS's valuable work like their EleFriendly Bus, an educational and life-saving transportation that minimizes daily elephant-human conflicts in an ancient elephant corridor (dubbed "The Bloody Elephant Corridor"). This gives the locals a reliable and safe way to travel to and from work, school and home along a rural road outside of Wasgamuwa National Park. All too often, humans and elephants compete for space and resources, resulting in the deaths of more than 80 people and 200 elephants each year in Sri Lanka. This is why donations from elephantea are so valuable, because it's these types of solutions that they support, which make significant strides in elephant conservation.
Another critical program that elephantea is helping to fund is the award-winning Project Orange Elephant, which helps ease the tension between humans and elephants in agricultural areas of Sri Lanka. This initiative helps protect farmers from harvest loss due to elephant raids by providing them with simple tools to successfully cultivate another cash crop: citrus fruits, which elephants dislike. By planting a tall barrier of citrus trees around their rice and vegetable crops, Sri Lankan farmers are able to create a sustainable elephant deterrent along with a new source of income in case they do lose their crops.
Quality You Can Taste, A Difference You Can Make
I was given an elephantea sampler with six of their delicious, well-balanced flavors (all organic, by the way): Chamomile, Black Tea, Black Tea Ginger, Green Chai, Green Tea Lemon and Green Tea. There's a flavor intensity for everyone--whether you prefer something on the mild, subtle side (Green Tea), or a bold flavor profile (Black Tea Ginger and Chai).
I was impressed by how quickly the colors and flavors came through as soon as I steeped the tea bag in hot water. Unlike other teas, where you have to let them steep for a while to enhance the taste and intensity, with elephantea, you can immediately see and taste the quality. Each flavor is pronounced and lingers on your tongue, allowing you to savor each sip--warming your belly and your heart, knowing the positive impact you're making with every cup.
Don't limit the season of giving to just the holidays. Share--and sip--the goodness of elephantea with your friends and family!
Plus, check out my interview below with elephantea President Shani Atapattu on her love for elephants, what we can learn from them, and how to get involved with animal conservation :
The Ant's Meow: What do you love most about elephants?
Shani Atapattu: I love that they are pack animals and tend to protect their young, stay in family units. I think there is something very beautiful about that, the older elephants nurture the younger ones, similar to humans, which makes them very relatable and lovable.
The Ant's Meow: What are some of the most important things we can learn from elephants that can be applied to our relationships with people?
Shani: People should view elephants as more than animals. We relate to animals and elephants in particular in a lot of ways. They can sense kindness amongst people and know the difference between good and bad people. They have emotions similar to humans (ability to mourn and cry about loss) and their actions show a higher understanding for emotional awareness.
The Ant's Meow: How did previous generations in your family help with elephant conservation/activism?
Shani: My great uncle was a veterinarian on the island, who's speciality was elephants. As my father told me, he lived on a piece of land that was adjacent to the elephant’s migratory path, so over the years, if he found an injured or sick elephant, he was able to heal/rehabilitate and release back into the wild. So our love of elephants stems many generations back and so does our will to see them alive and free in the wild.
The Ant's Meow: Do you think you’ll expand your product offerings to benefit other endangered or threatened species?
Shani: I would LOVE to be able to expand. If we are able to be successful in doing this with elephants, my ultimate success story would be that I was a part of saving more than just elephants, but other species as well. Right now our goal is to really be efficient and effective with our current initiative and then grow.
The Ant's Meow: In what ways was elephantea involved in launching the EleFriendly bus with SLWCS?
Shani: We actually donated funds as soon as we were informed of the cause and what they were trying to do with the elefriendly bus. So we were part of making sure there was positive promotion surrounding this initiative especially within the local communities, we would be affecting the greatest. In conjunction with SLWCS, we were very hands-on with their education process and becoming a part of this initiative.
The Ant's Meow: What would you say to encourage others to get involved in animal conservation?
Shani: As humans we are not the kindest animals and unfortunately, we have mistreated many other species for many years. The best thing someone interested in getting involved can do is to educate themselves about the various animals that are currently endangered/close to being extinct. Volunteering with local animal shelters and getting out there is the best way to get involved.
“Get out there and learn about the animals!"